South Australia will host the first-ever World Merino Insight on September 4-9, 2016, in and around Adelaide.
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Media release                                                                                                                                     June 23, 2016

Bright future for Aust sheepmeat sector

AUSTRALIA’S sheepmeat sector looks set for a bright future as consumers become increasingly educated on the benefits of reliable brands and the domestic red meat market share continues to grow.

Thomas Foods International Chief Operating Officer David McKay, who will speak at the World Merino Insight from September 4-9, said the Australian industry had many opportunities before it.

“Australia has an enviable reputation for integrity and consistency, all through the value chain,” he said. 

“Our producers, processors, regulators and consumers have all contributed in establishing quality standards across all the categories we market to the world. 

“Being part of this industry and the opportunities it creates is very exciting.”

Mr McKay said for the first time in some years domestic red meat market share had increased, and looked set to continue.

“An industry focus on eating quality and lifestyle shows which educate the consumer have assisted this growth dramatically,” he said. 

“Cheaper cuts of meat are now hitting menus and dinner tables like never before. On the export side – currency has a big impact.”

Mr McKay said export consumption also looked set to grow.

“For many years our industry has relied upon gaining access to as many markets as possible,” he said.

“Providing avenues for barrier-free entry brings confidence to our industry. 

“Our brands in the United States are well received and it is our largest single export destination for lamb. 

“Ongoing efforts to improve market access with recent free trade agreements are welcome but governments need to keep pursuing opportunities especially for sheep meat quota to the European Union.”

Despite low Australian flock numbers, which Mr McKay said had impacted on processor capacity, TFI had continued to grow.

“No doubt it has been tough for all processors and supply constraints have impacted our capacity,” he said. 

“Our track record to hold our capacity speaks volumes for our commitment for the longer term. 

“Our diversification into major markets has positioned TFI closer to the end consumer, enabling partnerships with major retailers globally.”

The company processed about 75,000 sheep, lamb and goats a week in South Australia, altogether, including the eastern states, this rose to 130,000 small stock a week. 

Mr McKay said TFI was a family-owned company that had diversified across the domestic and export sector through investment in innovation, people and quality.

He said in recent times TFI had expanded significantly, particularly overseas, and this expansion was set to continue in the future. 

Mr McKay said the Merino remained an important part of the Australian sheep industry, and he looked forward to presenting at the World Merino Insight.

Early-bird registrations for the World Merino Insight close on June 30, 2016.

To register: 
Visit or contact Emma at 08 8125 2200 or email 

Media contact:
Peter Meyer, World Merino Insight Co-Chair, 08 8846 2077, 0408 089 669 or

Click here for a high resolution photo of David McKay