SunGold Gives Consumers the Opportunity to Have “Lamb Tonight”
While lamb is a growing market in Alberta and Canada, it still accounts for a very small percentage of retail meat sales and the lamb industry faces multiple challenges to match the success of other meat groups. These challenges include a higher price point for fresh and frozen cuts and a lack of consumer education when it comes to cooking lamb.
For Innisfail’s SunGold Specialty Meats (SunGold), this knowledge gap served as an inspiration for their latest innovative brand, Lamb Tonight. This brand, which was recently launched at Sobeys across Canada, is highlighted by 10 value-added lamb products, including patties, meatballs, sausages and kabobs.
“Using lamb from Western Canadian farms, we initially focused on providing cuts to domestic and international markets. However, we recognized that our consumers are looking for more convenient ways to purchase lamb in retail locations,” said Miles Kliner, SunGold General Manager. “Lamb Tonight helps lamb become more consumer-friendly, while upholding the quality and taste of lamb that people enjoy.”
Over the last year, SunGold collaborated with the Leduc Food Processing Development Centre to create these products. From there, they purchased new processing and packaging equipment for production of Lamb Tonight. New innovative packaging is an integral part of marketing the products to consumers.
This initiative was also supported by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA). To Cody Cunningham, ALMA’s Senior Manager, Industry Investments, the Lamb Tonight brand shows how to turn a notable challenge into a growth opportunity.
“Lamb Tonight gives consumers increased access to Alberta lamb products and helps to elevate lamb’s retail profile,” said Cunningham. “Over time, this brand will allow consumers to learn more about cooking lamb and to recognize SunGold as a provider of local, high-quality lamb.”
That consumer recognition is important, as SunGold is currently working with retail partners to make their case-ready lamb cuts more accessible.
“If consumers know and like the Lamb Tonight brand, they’re likely open to cooking other SunGold lamb products,” said Kliner.
This initiative lets SunGold capitalize on the enhanced capacity, productivity and efficiency generated by recent upgrades to the company’s Innisfail facility. As well, the increased labour requirement for the production line led to new employment opportunities with SunGold. The company will also require more Alberta lamb to keep up with demand for Lamb Tonight products.
“This launch opens up many potential benefits for us, but we see it as an important step for industry as well,” said Kliner. “By addressing important consumer concerns when it comes to lamb, we believe that Lamb Tonight could help the Alberta lamb industry grow its market share on retail shelves. That builds long-term sustainability and competitiveness, as well as consumer confidence in Alberta lamb.”
Learn more about SunGold and Lamb Tonight at: http://sungoldmeats.com/