Premium New Zealand lamb products are being sold to UK customers through a deal done with major British online supermarket retailer Ocado.
SILERE Alpine Origin Merino lamb is a joint venture between 100 percent farmer-owned co-operative Alliance Group and The New Zealand Merino Company.
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Online supermarkets are the fastest-growing supermarket category, and Ocado has been voted best in the UK every year since 2010. Ocado has no 'bricks and mortar' stores, and provides all home deliveries from its warehouses.
SILERE Alpine Origin Merino Lamb boneless leg joint, extra-trimmed rack, loin filets or boneless rumps are being sold through the retailer, with feedback positive from shoppers.
"With 580,000 active customers, Ocado is a formidable online retail channel and this represents a significant opportunity for SILERE and Alliance's premium product portfolio," said Shane Kingston, general manager sales at Alliance.
"Online supermarkets provide a strong vehicle to tell a brand story directly to the consumer. Ocado is profiling farmers that produce SILERE and telling stories of heritage, taste and welfare to connect shoppers with the world's best red meat produced in the most natural way."
Central Otago farmers Andrew and Tracy Paterson have supplied the SILERE programme since its launch.
"We're thrilled with the connection with the end market and the feedback from the people buying it," they said.
"Hearing what the market needs first-hand is important. With market connections and contracts for our meat as well as our wool, we can tailor what we produce on farm."
The product is being sold in plastic-free recyclable 'Earthpouch' packaging. The Earthpouches are made from paper with a 100 percent plastic-free heat-sealable coating, which forms a grease, water and moisture barrier. The pouch is recyclable as part of the paper stream and is suitable for re-pulping.
"The packaging innovation, the product of our partnership with Hilton Food Solutions, the company that packs and distributes SILERE to Ocado, is also an important step forward," said Kingston.
A 12-month SILERE alpine origin merino contract has recently been released to shore up supply to meet the growing market demand from Ocado and other channels.