Mike Moore’s lamb burgers reach Macca’s
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Thirty years after being promoted by former Prime Minister Mike Moore, the lamb burger has finally arrived.
The McDonald's burger will be launched nationwide on Wednesday after a campaign launch in Green Lane, Auckland, tonight.
But at $8.90 for the burger and $11.90 for the medium combo, they might not seem such a baa-gain!
McDonald's says it always considers expanding its menus and has been researching the product for two years.
Company spokeswoman Kelly Armitage told NBR ONLINE the serious lamb burger, together with the lamb snack wrap (at $3.90) was just another addition to its menu, just as Angus burgers were several years ago.
A third lamb product is also due for launch in six weeks, though that will only run as a promotion.
McDonald's has worked with Beef and Lamb New Zealand to develop the product, as well as secure lamb supplies.
Ms Armitage doubted that with McDonald's gobbling up so many New Zealand lambs there would be any impact on fresh meat prices in general.
However, the burger chain is pushing the burgers as an affordable way to eat New Zealand lamb, citing a survey which found 82% of Kiwis like it, but 65% say it is too expensive to buy.
Beef and Lamb NZhas endorsed Macca’s new lamb offerings.
Chief executive Rod Slater says McDonald’s has successfully sold two million kilos of premium Angus beef since that range was launched in 2009.
The $8.90 price of the lamb burger reflected a similar premium nature, along with how lamb had also moved upmarket from being an everyday staple in days gone by.
“I don’t see it taking over from the traditional beef burger but its an addition to their menu options,” he told NBR.
Mr Slater described Macca’s move as “a good news story” in the chain becoming another outlet for New Zealand sheep farmers, who were suffering from lower meat prices.
He, too, doubted McDonald’s would have any impact on sheep meat prices.
McDonald's says their export-quality lamb patties are made using shoulder cuts and no mutton is used.
The lamb meat is sourced from farms in both islands.
Key suppliers include Silver Fern Farms, ANZCO and AFFCO. The patties are made at the ANZCO plant in Waitara.
It is a far cry from the early 1980s, when New Zealand had a peak 70.3 million sheep and the fourth Labour government slashed farm subsidies, leaving the country will millions of sheep nobody wanted.
Mr Moore, who was trade minister at the time, suggested lamb burgers as a way to dispose of such a surplus, causing some hilarity.
In those days, lamb was either cooked as a roast with gravy, with leftovers turned into shepherd's pie.
But the current New Zealand ambassador to Washington might have the last laugh.
“The big guys back the lamb burger and so does the little guy,” Mr Moore reportedly tweeted, after McDonald's in Australia announced its own lamb burgers last week.
He was unavailable for comment.