Directly related, another reason lamb is gaining momentum on menus is due to its perception as a premium ingredient. As the industry battles rising food and labor costs, it’s essential to find proteins that command top dollar, leading to higher margins.
According to Adam Moore, chef and founder of Flashpoint Innovation, part of the reason lamb is viewed by American diners as a premium ingredient is due to its reputation as a healthy, sustainable protein. That reputation is well earned, too— the Australian lamb industry is currently climate neutral, and the whole Australian red meat industry aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. That may be especially appealing to the growing number of younger diners who are increasingly supporting sustainability with their food dollars.
“I think something that people here in the U.S. may not understand is that these sustainability initiatives in Australia are driven by the farmers themselves,” Moore says. “It’s not driven by the government or public pressure. The community of farmers ultimately wanted to make these goals because they take a lot of pride in their work, and the land that they do it on. A lot of plant-based alternatives have risen in popularity because they talk about sustainability. But this isn’t just pillow talk happening in Australia—this is real change they are striving for and making.”