Over the last two decades Australia's domestic red meat consumption has plummeted, sheepmeat in particular.
According to the latest red meat data from the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE), in 2000, 62 per cent of Australian lamb was consumed domestically, with the remainder exported.
Just over 20 years later, in the first half of 2022, 60pc of Australian lamb production was exported with almost all of Australian mutton exported.
In fact, export demand is stronger than it has ever been.
MLA's group industry insights and strategy manager Scott Cameron said there has been a number of fundamental changes during the course of the 20 years attributing to the domestic decline.
And he said the number one driver of the downturn was affordability.
"Price growth for lamb over the last 20 years at a retail level has grown about 200pc compared to chicken which has grown at only 25pc," Mr Cameron said.
Chicken maintains its place as Australia's most popular meat, ahead of all red meats with its popularity expected to continue, according to ABARES.
Mr Cameron said because of the increasing cost of goods, less lamb has appeared on menus at food service outlets than compared to 20 years ago.
But he said recent opportunity has started to present itself.
"Over the last few months we have seen a bit of a flattening from a price perspective and chicken has jumped a little," Mr Cameron said.
"It has opened the door for restaurant owners to reconsider the roll of lamb on their menu, those cheaper cuts of lamb - braised shoulders for example - whereas in the past they wouldn't have done that.
"Essentially people still do love lamb. Although their consumption has dropped, they still love it."
Mecardo analyst Olivia Agar said the uptake in sheepmeat exports has coincided with the transformational shift from a domestic orientated market to a more export orientated market.
"Industry has seen the importance of this play out in recent months where the large volume of overflow of old season lambs processed were able to be shifted into our export markets and still at a good price," Ms Agar said.
"Having this diverse customer base and this export market is really crucial to our markets and industry."
The reality is, exports have shifted upwards at reasonable pace during the two-decade period - not a long time in market development terms.
The most recent data from October revealed 9pc per cent more lamb and 10pc more mutton was shifted overseas in quarter three 2022 than the same period last year.
Australian lamb exports in October increased 4pc to hit 26,144 tonnes shipped weight (swt), which makes it the third time this year that lamb exports have gone above 26,000 tonnes.
Admittedly, the current cheaper Australian dollar and cheaper saleyard lambs and sheep over this time supported the robust demand from overseas.
Mr Cameron said sheepmeat exports now represent over two thirds of our annual production.
And he said export demand is certainly stronger than ever.
"There has been a massive increase of about 40pc over the last 20 years," he said.
"In 2001, our export volume of sheepmeat was around 285,000 tonnes and over the last 12 months it was around 400,000 tonnes.
"Markets such as the US, China and Middle East, but in particular the US, are really loving Australian lamb - retailers as well as food services and consumers."
Lamb exports to the US from Australia lifted 3pc over October to see 6983 tonnes swt consigned, this represents levels that are 34pc above the five-year average pattern for October.
"The demand for lamb still outweigh the supply by a long way," Mr Cameron said.
"Even though we are seeing a long-term decline domestically, MLA are working hard to re-grow the usage and get those households that haven't purchased lamb in a while to re-purchase it."