DENVER, Colo. — The American Lamb Board (ALB) elected leadership and set the course for 2023 checkoff programs at its annual meeting January 18. It’s all aimed at the end goal of increasing demand for American Lamb by 5% and taking 5% market share from lamb imports by the end of 2028, the target set in ALB’s new strategic plan. The best way to stay informed about the Mandatory American Lamb Checkoff is the weekly enews.
The ALB officers and members are Peter Camino, Buffalo, WY, re-elected chairman; Jeff Ebert, St. George, KS, re-elected vice chairman; Don Hawk, Danville, OH, re-elected treasurer; David Fisher, Sonora, TX, secretary; Andrew Allman, Gill, CO; Carlos Barba, Naperville, IL; Mike Duff, Blackfoot, ID; Karissa Isaacs, Milliken, CO, new member; Dave McEwen, Galata, MT; Jimmy Parker, Vinemont, AL; Steve Schreier, Tracy, MN; Sally Scholle, Littlestown, PA; and Gary Visintainer, Craig, CO.
ALB will begin exploring potential markets for frozen American Lamb. And, as the landmark Michigan State University sustainability research goes into its final phase, plans are being made to applying the outcomes to the ALB’s marketing and industry outreach.
The board will continue its strategies of expanding American Lamb consumption beyond the traditional holiday meals like Easter and Christmas and increasing consumer awareness that lamb is a versatile, easy to prepare, nutritious and sustainable protein choice.
Programming planned for 2023 includes a more robust online presence through enhancements to the consumer website content and search optimization; social media content, contests and ads; activation of the consumer enewsletter; and the return of more Lamb Jam events while continuing virtual events.
Sustainability messages will be increased to consumers, including the introduction of grazing videos.
“This is one of the most exciting years I’ve had on the board with the new strategic plan and the innovative programs. But there are programs that underpin it all so these will continue, such as recipes and cookery, influencer partnerships, media relations and consumer research,” said Chairman Peter Camino.
Educating about the benefits of American Lamb doesn’t stop at home kitchens—chefs will also be targeted to receive information about preparing and serving American Lamb for their customers. ALB will continue to support restaurants that are committed to American Lamb, including fine dining and fast casual chains.
Reaching foodservice audiences will be accomplished through partnerships with restaurants and suppliers, trade media outreach, culinary events and educational tools for culinary professionals. The vital intelligence of menu tracking and trends monitoring will continue.
“Even with the huge burdens that Covid placed on foodservice, and the loss of so much fine dining, we found a great family dining regional chain, Taziki’s Mediterranean Grill, to introduce a double American Lamb burger last year. There’s more to come of that out-of-the-box thinking,” Camino added.
The past two years opened opportunities with retailers as consumers returned to home meal preparation but wanted new options. “One of the most important efforts we have on the retail front is making sure we support American Lamb suppliers who are getting our products into stores, “ Camino said.
With the U.S. sheep flock dwindling, ALB will be initiating efforts to encourage additional sheep production while also increasing outreach across the industry about both the American Lamb Checkoff and resources available for the industry. A pilot project will begin to help new and existing producers evaluate the benefits of increasing flock numbers through live and virtual webinars. “Working closely with industry influencers, such as Extension, is critical for this effort,” Camino said.
Be watching for a completely new industry website during 2023. Camino reminds the industry to keep informed of Mandatory American Lamb Checkoff news through its free weekly email newsletter that takes just a minute to subscribe to at LambResourceCenter.com.
Local promotional efforts are an important aspect of serving the industry and ALB has again improved its program to assist through grants and free materials. More information is on the industry website at LambResourceCenter.com/funding
–American Lamb Board