Optimising carcase utilisation is critical to the prosperity of all in the beef supply chain in a world where changes are coming fast and thick, not only in terms of cost pressures for business but in what consumers want.
Being able to understand emerging consumer demands and develop new products to meet these needs will require specialised skills and a definite think-outside-the-square mindset.
Prominent vertically-integrated meat operation Bindaree Food Group believes having people who can do just that will be a big part of the future of Australian beef.
For that reason, the forward-thinking company, which feeds, processes, markets and exports beef, will send its general manager of sales and marketing Hamish Irvine to this year's Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association national conference in Wagga Wagga in July as a keynote speaker.
The ICMJ event is about developing young industry professionals in the global red meat industry.
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Mr Irvine said beef processors and exporters were operating today against a quickly evolving backdrop.
"From inflation to low labour availability and the many other rising supply chain costs, the pressures and challenges are growing," he said.
"Australian Beef is an exceptional quality product with an outstanding reputation on the world stage but compared to our major competitors we are expensive.
"That's where the importance of optimising carcase utilisation comes in.
"It's about understanding how we can generate more revenue through better utilisation of the product we have."
At the same time, consumer needs are constantly evolving.
From the growing middle class in Asia with an appetite for beef to the expansion of cuisines in Australia, that is presenting big opportunities.
"Value is determined by the consumer and the way in which consumers utilise beef varies across markets, so at Bindaree we assess these evolving opportunities on a market-by-market basis," Mr Irvine said.
Domestically, Bindaree is focused on establishing new packaging technologies that extend shelf life or reduce plastics as well as development of pre-marinated or pre-prepared retail-ready offerings.
These areas are creating opportunities to increase revenue through utilisation of cuts that have not previously been viable in the eyes of the consumer, Mr Irvine said.
Internationally, the company is tapping into everything from e-commerce to the development of pharmaceutical applications to increase the value of a carcase.
"Consumers will always be changing their needs and purchasing patterns, and being able to match these needs with targeted products can give us a home for parts of the carcase that in the past were not of great value," Mr Irvine said.
"For example, we are now packaging bone-in and forequarter cuts through cooked programs which had not previously been widely consumed within Australia."
Mr Irvine will join other red meat industry speakers at the ICMJ event, including Murdoch University Professor David Pethick, Angus Australia's Jake Philips, Teys Australia's supply chain coordinator Molly Greentree and AMPC's Stuart Shaw and Amanda Carter.
The seminars will be held at Charles Sturt University on July 6 and 7.
- This article will feature in ACM's special Carcase Merit print publication in July.