WASHINGTON — “Upheaval. That describes 2020,” says American Lamb Board Chairman Gwen Kitzan in the checkoff group’s annual report released for fiscal year 2020. The industry was already facing significant processing infrastructure changes when the Covid pandemic hit.
“Literally within days, your American Lamb Board (ALB) shifted programs, and continued to do so for months as situations evolved. Promotions and communications intensified. As dining out became almost nonexistent, home cooks became our primary consumers. Many had never prepared lamb, so making our product more accessible and approachable was paramount,” continues Kitzan.
Highlights of FY 2020 promotions are:
- H-E-B retail promotion – the first of its kind for this checkoff – resulted in American Lamb sales increasing 46.6% compared to the same time a year earlier.
- Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe and ALB partnered for the first ever American Lamb chain restaurant promotion that included all 90 locations in 17 states.
- Lamb Jam and other events went virtual.
- Sunday Funday showcased American Lamb as the perfect Fall choice through this online promotion and contest.
- Lamb Lovers Month contest used proven methods such as emails, Facebook, Instagram ads, Lambassador blogs and AmericanLamb.com.
- The American Lamb Challenge Contest was developed at record speed to address the early Covid situation. It enticed consumers to give lamb a try and raised funds for Feeding America.
- Glamburger expanded to include both at-home and restaurant components.
- The Lee Initiative, with the help of ALB and others, provided meals and essential supplies to hospitality workers that were deeply affected by Covid closures.
Influencer partnerships curated by ALB showed their value by quickly, effectively and efficiently connecting American Lamb messages with consumer followers. Food bloggers amplified ideas and recipes to inspire US consumers to choose American Lamb for home cooking. The checkoff tapped into 21 food influencer partners for 78 new recipes. During FY 2020, Instagram reach alone through influencer partnerships was more than 2 million.
Even though emphasis shifted to promotions, the new American Lamb environmental footprint research was launched, while Covid restrictions did not allow for completion of the flavor research’s third phase.
“Your checkoff dollars are enticing consumers to make American Lamb part of their meals. Whatever comes in 2021, you can be sure ALB will meet the challenges head-on. Thank you for your continued support and valuable input,” says Kitzan.
The annual report is available for download at LambResourceCenter.com. The site also contains additional program information as well as promotional tools. ALB’s fiscal 2020 year started October 1, 2019, and ended September 30, 2020.
–American Lamb Board
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