Impossible Beef is possible in Australian supermarkets

California-based brand Impossible Foods launched its flagship product Impossible Beef Made From Plants in Woolworths stores across Australia and Countdown stores in New Zealand. This is the first time Impossible Beef can be purchased in supermarkets in both regions, following four months after the company landed in over 150 restaurants in Australia – including Grill’d and Butter.

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Woolworths stocks Fable’s plant-based slow-braised 'meat’ ready meals 

Fable Food Co has launched its premium plant-based braised beef ready meals range in Woolworths stores across Australia.

Backed by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and developed by resident fine dining chef and mushroom scientist Jim Fuller, Fable’s Plant-Based Braised Beef launched into Woolworths. The addition of three premium ready meals to the Woolworths range includes:

  • Chilli Con Carne, a hearty and flavour-filled plant-based braised beef chilli, stewed with tomatoes, kidney beans, chipotle chilli and traditional Mexican spices, served with basmati rice.

  • Stroganoff, a heart warming, tomato stewed sauce with plant-based braised beef, served with hearty dollops of creamy potato mash.

  • Rogan Josh, an aromatic curry with melt-in-your-mouth chunks of plant-based braised beef seasoned with mouth-watering spices, served with basmati rice.

The  Fable range is all natural, vegan friendly, and uses minimally processed shiitake mushrooms together with all natural plant-based ingredients.

Demand for plant-based meat has surged in Australia, with one in three Australians making the conscious decision to reduce their meat consumption, according to independent organisation Food Frontier. As more consumers look for nutritious plant-based options that are delicious and easy to prepare, Fable is making plant-based meal preparation easier than ever. The convenient and delicious single serve plant-based meals feature Fable’s signature premium plant-based braised beef and are ready to heat and eat in 3 minutes.

Woolworths has seen growing demand for plant-based foods and has rapidly expanded their range of meat alternatives and plant-based ready meals to meet consumer demand.

“Plant-based options are becoming increasingly popular with our customers, and we’re expanding our product range to meet the continued growth in demand. We’re excited to offer Fable’s ready meals to give Aussies even more options for delicious plant-based food options,” said Leigh Gallen, Woolworths category manager, ready meals.

Fable’s ready meals launch comes less than 12 months after the launch of its Plant-Based Braised Beef in December 2019, and four months after the brand launched in over 600 Woolworths locations nationwide.

NZ beef and lamb awards announced

The producer of New Zealand’s most consistently tender and tasty lamb in the last ten years has been announced today at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Golden Lamb Awards, aka the Glammies.

For the past 10 years, the Glammies competition has sought out the country’s top lamb based on a scientific assessment and then taste. This year, the results from the past decade were collated to determine Robert Gardyne from Oturehua, Central Otago as the Producer of the Decade.

Having been a finalist in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and the 2016 Grand Champion, Gardyne is no stranger to success. He has farmed for 52 years and believes his success is down to experience and practice.

“Consumers are now much more interested in the food they eat and where it comes from. Reflecting on the past decade, a lot of effort has been put into the management and genetic makeup of the animal to fine-tune the lamb we produce. Gaining an award like this is a huge thrill and gives me confidence in what is to come,” says Gardyne.

Following an independent assessment for yield, tenderness, succulence and colour the top 20 finalists were found and sent to be judged by Beef and Lamb New Zealand Ambassador Chefs in the Grand Final at the Wanaka A&P Show.

Forbes & Angus Cameron from Ashhurst, with their Growbulk processed at Alliance Dannevirke, outshone the 166 entrants in the 2017 competition and were announced as the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Golden Lamb Awards 2017 Grand Champion. This is a remarkable achievement for Forbes & Angus Cameron who also won the beef equivalent competition, the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin, in 2015.

Adding to the day’s celebrations, Matt & Lynley Wyeth from Masterton were awarded the 2017 People’s Choice Award and Countdown Supermarkets took out the title of Glammies 2017 Retail Winner.

Four of our nation’s top athletes and Beef + Lamb New Zealand Iron Maidens Lisa Carrington, Sarah Walker, Sophie Pascoe and Caroline Meyer (nee Evers-Swindell) were at the competition to pay tribute to New Zealand sheep farmers.

The competition is sponsored by Zoetis and Elanco and supported by Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods Canterbury, Ashburton Meat Processors, Auckland Meat Processors/Wilson Hellaby, Blue Sky Meats, Cabernet Foods/Kintyre Meats, Harris Meats, Oamaru Meats, Progressive Meats, Silver Fern Farms and Taylor Preston.

2017 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Golden Lamb Awards results:

Producer of the decade (2007 – 2017): Robert Gardyne, Oturehua

2017 rand Champion: Forbes & Angus Cameron, Ashhurst (Growbulk)

Processor of the Grand Champion: Alliance Dannevirke

2017 Retail Winner: Countdown Supermarkets (South Suffolk/Romney from Ruakiwi, Kaikohe)

2017 Peoples’ Choice: Matt & Lynley Wyeth, Masterton (Highlander/Primera), processed at Silver Fern Farms Takapau


Russia to ban imports of New Zealand beef

Russia is planning to temporarily ban beef and beef by-products from New Zealand, claiming they contain listeria and ractopamine, a banned feed additive.

AFP reports that Russia’s agricultural safety body Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement that the products had been involved in “repeated violations” of standards.

In addition, the watchdog is considering a similar ban on New Zealand fish because of claims it has been found to contain mercury and listeria microbes.

Chief executive of New Zealand’s Meat Industry Association Tim Ritchie told the Ministry for Primary Industries’ residues program had not picked up the presence of ractopamine.

“As far as I’m aware there has been no formal communication through the normal regulatory channels,” he said.

Ractopamine promotes leanness and muscle growth in livestock. In New Zealand, it may be used with pork, but is prohibited for use with sheep and beef cattle.

While it is banned in Russia and the EU, it is allowed in other countries, including the US, Canada and Brazil.

Australian Beef Sustainability Framework released for comment


The Red Meat Advisory Council has made available the draft Australian Beef Sustainability Framework for industry comment.

The draft Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (the draft Framework) focusses on fostering longevity and prosperity for producers and consumers alike for the 18-billion-dollar Australian beef sector.

Independent Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), Don Mackay, said the draft Framework was the culmination of extensive consultation.

“The draft Framework has been developed following discussions with industry, retailers, regulators, financial organisations, special interest groups and customers.”

“We now want all members of the beef value chain – from producers to consumers – to help us define what sustainable Australian beef means; and how we measure and report this to the wider community,” Mackay said.

The draft Framework focusses on four key themes with priority areas for industry to tackle progress: Environmental Stewardship, Economic Resilience, People & the Community, Animal Welfare.

The draft Framework supports priorities in the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020, which focus on improving transparency, aligning practices with community expectations and building trust in the red meat sector.

“We wish to paint a clear and honest picture of sustainable beef in Australia and how we are responding to changing demands within the community to position our industry for the future,” said Mackay.

The development of the draft Framework has been led by RMAC’s Sustainability Steering Group (SSG), an 11-person grass roots industry group from across all industry sectors.

SSG Chair Prue Bondfield said the draft Framework addresses priority areas throughout the beef value chain, covering farm production, lot-feeding, processing and live exports.

“We have identified key priority areas and potential measures. It’s now open to the industry and the community to comment on whether the areas identified to date are the right ones,” said Bondfield.

“The framework will be used to help guide continual improvement by industry, so it’s critical that we have the right priority areas.”

The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework inaugural report is due to be released in March 2017.

Food for thought: the rise of Australia’s mighty Brahman

The cattle in northern Australia are different to the rest of the national herd and the most striking thing is they have humps. But these humped Brahman cattle are here for a reason: because they adapted to surviving where others cannot in harsh tropical environments.

Brahmans were first introduced to Queensland in 1933. Today the national beef herd is around 26 million cattle and Brahman genetics can be found in around 50% of the national herd. More than 70% of the bulls working north of the Tropic of Capricorn are Brahman.

Such has been their impact that, before you can leave Ausralia’s beef capital of Rockhampton, you are greeted with a giant statue of a Brahman bull, a tribute to the immense economic benefits it has delivered. In 2001 it was estimated that Brahman genetics had contributed an extra A$8.1 billion to the Queensland economy.

The Brahman cattle statue in Rockhampton.
Michael Thomson, Author provided

But its impact has been far greater than just dollars and cents. With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see that the great experiment of introducing these bloodlines into Australia laid down the ideal model of research and industry collaboration that all fields of science can still learn from today.

Like all great advances in human endeavour, it began with an insight, followed by a vision and then years of unrecognised and thankless toil.

Inspiration from Texas

In the 1920 the Australian veterinary scientist John Anderson Gilruth toured the United States and viewed the cattle at the Pierce Estate in Texas. According to Angus Packham’s book of Cattle Breeding Research at Rockhampton, Gilruth said that “a vigorously controlled cattle breeding experiment in north Queensland would be wise”.

Gilruth later became the first chief of the new division of animal health at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR was the precursor to today’s CSIRO). There, he put forward a proposal to acquire Zebu cattle (Brahmans are a sub-breed of the Zebu species of cattle).

Wise indeed, but it took until 1933 for the first Zebus to be imported by CSIR on behalf of a handful of cooperating progressive pastoralists, even though most cattlemen did not see value in these humped “feral” cattle of inferior genetics.

The CSIR’s animal geneticist Ralph Bodkin Kelley said at the time:

A cooperator refused to use a CSIR-installed cattle weigh-bridge and another stated that nobody was going to tell him how to breed cattle that were his.

Even then it wasn’t until 1941 that Kelly was able to record that “the most worthwhile experiment with respect to Zebu crossbreeding in Australia” had begun. It was another decade before the property Belmont, north of Rockhampton, was purchased as a dedicated research property for cattle research.

Every scientist with a grand vision would appreciate these long thankless years. In fact, the CSIR Executive Board questioned:

[…] whether anybody is cognisant of the very large number of major and minor difficulties and problems, of husbandry and science, which will have to be overcome or solved on the ground before Belmont can become the centre of a beef cattle research programme of which CSIR can be proud.

Thankfully, things reached a tipping point, and this is where things get really interesting for designing future research collaborations.

Brahman cattle dominate the northern Australian herd.

The Queensland herd

In 1965 less than 15% of the Queensland cattle herd contained Brahman genetics. By 1981 it was 60%.

Author provided

That rise coincided directly with a rise in industry visitors to CSIRO’s research facilities at Belmont, which coincidentally or not, tracks a similar rise in the number of scientific papers published by the researchers.

Author provided

Strong links with industry reflected by official visitor numbers appears to have been vital in maintaining research momentum, helping to frame industry-relevant research questions and driving adoption of innovation by Queensland cattlemen.

Alas, amid government funding cuts and rationalisation of research activities, the CSIRO left Rockhampton in 2009. It consolidated its northern livestock program to Townsville, leaving the beef capital without a research presence.

The once crowded Rendel Research Laboratories were emptied, Belmont’s pastures were used by private herds, and producers started looking elsewhere for inspiration.

A new approach

Despite the successes of the Brahman breed, the challenge facing the north Australian industry remains the same: identifying superior genetics that can thrive in harsh and remote environmental conditions with limited human intervention.

Case in point being the abysmally low fertility rates in some northern Australian herds, where 47% calving rates are normal, compared with the national average of 76%.

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) research also shows that the 25% of producers in the northern region (i.e. those operating profitably) are acutely focused on their genetics, their pastures and their labour efficiency. They achieve higher reproductive rates, lower mortality rates and heavier sale weights than the rest of the producers.

So the focus now is on engaging producers in the development of new automated monitoring systems to identify new genetics that will take the industry to the next level of productivity.

Systems have been developed that are capable of gathering data on individual animals and Belmont (now owned by farmer association AgForce) is again the touch point for industry.

A stockman musters cattle on CSIRO’S Belmont research station, 32km north of Rockhampton.

This allows our researchers to track in real time which cattle are reaching optimal markets weights the fastest, and which cows are most fertile, as well as the pasture and water availability.

If this sort of technology is rolled out across the industry, the data gathered will dramatically enhance analysis of industry-wide genetic linkages. Producers will be able to more accurately select from a larger number of bulls and cows which have detailed fertility records, and whose progeny will grow faster than their ancestors while consuming less pasture.

For the producer this means more beef produced per hectare, bolstering their bottom line and the nation’s export returns. For the consumer it means industry can select genetics that are known to produce tender beef. And for the environment it will reduce the amount of grazing pressure on ground cover and waterways.

But this will all remain just a scientist’s crusade if producers can’t see the value in adopting new innovation. The key to that riddle is once again opening the doors to Rockhampton’s beef research facilities and recreating that strong link between researchers and producers that proved so successful in the past.

The challenge for governments and the research community is to understand the value of investing for the long-term, riding out the dark and lonely days and the importance of engaging with end-users along the way.

The Conversation

Dave Swain, Professor of Agriculture, CQUniversity Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Elders to cease live exports of cattle and sheep

Agribusiness Elders will sell its subsidiary North Australian Cattle Company (NACC), and thus exit the live export business.

As the ABC reports, NACC currently ships cattle to Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia and flies cattle and sheep to China.

The move follows a comprehensive review of the company’s live export business and, according to CEO Mark Allison, does not reflect on the viability of the industry as a whole.

He said in a statement that the company remains supportive of the live export industry, and the business remains committed to the needs of its livestock producer clients.

“Our focus remains on increasing client access to a range of markets, including live export markets for their stock, and we will continue to work with industry live exporters to market our clients’ livestock,” Allison said.

He added that the export, logistics and shipping of live cattle to long haul destinations is no longer central to Elders’ strategy.

“Elders reported a loss of $2.9m from its Live Export businesses in the 6 months to 30 March 2016.  That poor result had included a loss of $3.8m attributable to the long haul business.  Since that report, margin performance in the long haul business has continued to be poor and we believe that margins are unlikely to recover in the near to medium term,” said Allison.

“In addition, we do not see that the China feeder and slaughter trade, which is yet to fully open, will deliver margins or a return on capital at levels that meets our, and our shareholders’, expectations.  As a result, we consider that the long haul of live cattle is best suited to specialist logistics operators.”

Elders expects an underlying EBIT for the full year to 30 September 2016 in the range of $54-57m.

This result reflects better than average retail activity due to seasonal conditions and strong livestock prices driving the agency result. Conversely, high cattle prices have impacted margins in the Feed and Processing businesses.

Upon finalisation of the Live Export exit, Elders’ will have circa $25m of working capital which can be redeployed in areas that meet return on capital expectations.

Image: The Advertiser

Bindaree Beef Group tastes success at Australian Food Awards

Bindaree Beef Group has won four medals at the 2016 Australian Food Awards, held in Melbourne this week.

From a field of over 25 entries, Cape Byron Angus Beef took top honours, receiving a gold medal in the Branded Beef Competition. The premium MSA graded grass fed black angus brand has been well received within the domestic market, with recognition at the AFA further endorsing the product, rated highly by competition judges for its juiciness and flavour.

Free range, grass fed brand Mayfield Beef was awarded a silver medal, its second for the year after achieving this result in the Royal Queensland Food & Wine Show in May. Highland Park grass fed beef and Prestige (pictured), a premium hand selected grain fed MSA beef, were both recipients of bronze medals.

The Australian Food Awards are conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria. Participation in the awards provides the opportunity to benchmark against competitors whilst also gaining expanded product feedback from a panel of leading industry experts.

Beef Bolognese

Beef Bolognese is a dish to be created with love and attention.

Dineamic has done the hard work for you in their version of this rich and meaty ragout. Impress your friends or please the kids with this quick and healthy dish.

Simply heat in the pouch then serve with your favourite style pasta.

500g, Serves 2

Manufacturer: Dineamic

Launch date: 15 March 2016

Ingredients: Beef (34%), Vegetables (65%) (Crushed Tomato (Tomato, Tomato Juice, Citric Acid), Onion, Tomato Paste (Concentrated Tomato, Salt), Carrot, Celery), Salt, Sugar, Herbs, Garlic, Olive Oil, Pepper.

Shelf Life: 42 days (refrigerated)

Packaging: Doy Pouch

Product Manager: Daniel Pullen

Country of origin: Australia

Brand Website:

Genomics pioneer set to beef up Australian cattle industry

Genomic selection could provide productivity gains to the Australian beef industry, according to recent research conducted at the University of Queensland.

Professor Ben Hayes, who joined the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, said that genomic prediction was now widely used in livestock and crops to help determine future trait outcomes.

“The aim of genomic selection is to identify superior variants of all the genes that contribute to important production, health and quality traits, and to bring them together in breeding lines in as few generations as possible,” Professor Hayes said.

“When combined with advanced reproductive technologies, genomic selection promises to deliver over the next few decades productivity gains that might have taken centuries to achieve with traditional selection.”

Professor Hayes is the co-inventor of genomic prediction for traits in dairy and beef cattle.

Genomic selection could address challenges in tropical crops and agriculture in general.

“Improvements to meat quality in particular, measured by tenderness and intramuscular fat, will allow a wider swathe of northern producers greater access to that high-value end of the Asian market.”

“We can use this DNA marker technology to accelerate gains in tropical pastures and legumes by improving drought tolerance and adaption to heat stress and seasonal variability, as well as protein levels and pest resistance,” Hayes said.

Senate inquiry into red meat processing calls for changes to address industry fears

Senators are calling for an overhaul of the red meat processing industry in an attempt to reform the sector.

Findings from the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport call for changes to the saleyard pricing system and greater oversight of livestock agents.

Victorian Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie pushed for the inquiry and said the sector needed urgent changes.

“There is a culture of fear and intimidation in the industry and this report goes to some of the evidence of that,” she said.

“At the moment, producers don’t have confidence that they’re getting what their beast is valued at.”

The inquiry, which has been running for more than year, was launched after producers expressed outrage at two events.

The first was when nine agents mysterious failed to appear, or bid, at the first sale of a new saleyards at Barnawartha near Wodonga in northern Victoria.

The second was when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission refused to block a takeover of Australia’s largest small goods maker, Primo, by Australia’s largest fresh meat processor, JBS.

Interim report includes five recommendations 

The interim report called for the creation of a transparent pricing mechanism at saleyards, and more disclosure and a reporting system for the wider industry.

The recommendations also include a registration and training system for livestock agents and the creation of an oversight body to receive formal complaints about agent behaviour.

Senator McKenzie said a recommendation for the Government to introduce legislation to prohibit concerted practices was important.

In response to allegations produced at senate hearings, the ACCC has launched its own inquiry into the red meat industry.

Green energy plant praised for food processing potential

A green energy initiative by Japanese processor NH Foods at Oakey Beef Exports in Australia has been praised for its environmental and business efficiency model from food producers around the globe.

Opened by Australian Federal Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane, the COHRAL plant extracts methane biogas from waste water streams to replace the costly natural gas that consumes millions of dollars in Queensland’s Darling Downs.

Biogas Technician at Oakey Beef Exports in Queensland, Katy Hawkins said “It is refreshing to see that such an established business has the foresight to decrease its’ environmental footprint. Globally, businesses are no longer in the position where infrastructure and productivity can be advanced without taking note of the damage it is causing the environment. It is especially exciting that this system is an Australian first.”

Producing approximately 183.3 gigajoules of energy a day when reaching design capacity through combusting methane, the plant delivers high quality waste water by extracting organic content that is later converted into methane to replace fossil fuels.

The plant is expected to deliver additional benefits which include reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved quality of wastewater and greatly reduced odour emissions.

Hawkins said she was delighted to get the opportunity to be involved with the project, which involves an advanced user-friendly GWE SCADA-based control system operated by one person.

Global Water Engineering technology has been proven to work in a variety of livestock, crop and beverage production facilities and can be applicable to any industry with an organic waste stream. 

Cleavers expands Paleo range into Coles

Cleavers has added two new sausage flavours and a beef burger to supermarket shelves following the success of the Paleo Beef Sausage and high consumer demand.

Expanding the availability of the Paleo range to sell in Coles and Woolworths, Cleavers has created preservative free, grain free and soy free products using 100 per cent Australian meat containing natural ingredients.

Cleavers ambassador and Paleo advocate Pete Evans said “Cleaver’s Paleo range answers the food prayers of many, including health lovers who want themselves and their families to still enjoy the deliciousness of a great Aussie barbeque, without sacrificing quality or taste.”

The range is suitable for consumers who enjoy pure food products and follows the Paleo lifestyle without sacrificing the flavour of a burger or a sausage.

Nive Beef launches paddock-to-plate beef Jerky

Nive Beef has launched their brand new sustainable, paddock-to-plate beef jerky.

Nive Beef Founders husband and wife team Doug and Rachelle Cameron use low stress methods with their cattle and beef production and are proud to provide a product that customers can trust and enjoy.

Rachelle Cameron says that being involved in the manufacturing process of Nive Beef Jerky from beginning to end ensures product integrity and quality.

“We process our own 100% grass-fed cattle and use only the best cuts of meat to produce premium jerky for the consumer,” says Ms Cameron.

“The marinade used on the beef is Doug’s original recipe which also ensures we know exactly what is going into the meat in order to produce trustworthy beef jerky with a great flavour that our customers will continue coming back for,” she says.

Doug Cameron says the process has taken just under two years from idea to having a product on the shelf.

Nive Beef Jerky is 100% grass-fed, hormone-free and preservative-free jerky that is low in fat, low in sugar and high in protein.

Nive Beef Jerky Original is now available for purchase online and in some Southern Queensland retailers, with Hot & Spicy and Heated Garlic flavours still to come.

Thomas Foods set to pack on the beef

South Australian meat processor, Thomas Foods International says it will boost its beef processing capacity by up to 25 per cent with a new beef boning facility.

Thomas Foods has an annual revenue in excess of $AUD1billion and is Australia’s largest family-owned meat-processing company.

It currently supplies a range of retail outlets including Coles, Woolworth’s, Costco and also Aldi.

According to the company, this $AUD25 million upgrade of its Murray Bridge abattoir will boost the company's beef processing capacity by a quarter and will see the creation of an additional 200 jobs.

“The new facility will use the latest technology for refrigeration, conveying, sortation, cryovac packing and hygiene,” Thomas Foods CEO David McKay said.

"It will be one of our company's biggest investments," he said.