A new MSA tendernessguaranteed premium beef brand launched recently by Swift Australia aims to celebrate the unique full-flavoured qualities of grassfed beef produced out of Tasmania's pristine environment.
The Tasmanian Premium product is generated out of Swift's Longford plant in the state's north, drawing on a local supply of quality Britishbased cattle finished on the state’s soft, fertile and abundant pastures.
The result is a product with grainfedlike tenderness and consistency, but carrying a more robust and satisfying grassfed flavour profile.
Tasmania carries a statewide ban on HGP use, further reinforcing the 'clean and green' credentials behind the brand, as does the GMO feedstuffs and antibiotic-free claims.
Swift has invested heavily in brand development with strong carton presentation, point-of-sale material and promotional activity to further sell the merits of the brand to consumers.
Swift domestic beef sales spokesman Jamie Ferguson said at this point, Tasmanian Premium beef is targeted at the export and domestic markets.
There are a variety of weight ranges available for each cut, allowing each market segment choice when ordering, thus best meeting their customer’s needs.
The milk and two-tooth British bred livestock (predominantly Angus or Shorthorn and their crosses) deliver ideal carcase weights to meet these weight ranges.
As an example the heavier weight ranges are ideally suited to the restaurant/food service market, allowing chefs and portion controllers high yielding cuts that can be sliced to create perfect platesized portions.
The lighter weight ranges suit the premium butchery segment which historically demands lighter cuts that can be value-added for meat display cabinets.
The word 'Natural' holds significance in some markets - particularly for export - and the Tasmanian Premium brand’s quality claims, in addition to Tasmania’s own strong regional production image, offer strength to the word when mentioned in the same context.
The Swift Longford plant, with a capacity to kill 450 head daily, started MSA grading at the end of January, with high compliance rates well above 90pc being recorded by many suppliers.
The company has worked closely with its cattle suppliers in the lead-up to the brand launch to build the critical supply chain understanding of MSA pathways.
Mr Ferguson said the words 'Grassfed Beef' were now perceived in a very positive light by a growing number of domestic consumers.
"Underpinning of the Tasmanian Premium brand with an MSA tenderness guarantee, allows us to reinforce the message to our customers that this is in fact a premium grassfed product that will perform up to high expectations," he said.
That process was reflected in the aging requirements, with striploins and rumps requiring only 14 days from processing.
This was ideal for wholesalers, butchers and food service operators who are conscious of the costs associated with inventory management through longer ageing requirements.
Asked about the seasonality challenges with grassfed production out of an area like Tasmania, Mr Ferguson said many suppliers were adjusting their production systems to suit the program.
"In those months where the cattle might be held over and grown out a little more on silage, for example, it is only going to improve the marbling performance, so we’re happy with that arrangement," he said.
"The product suits that discerning consumer who is looking for a grassfed product with a little more flavour, while still carrying a high degree of tenderness and consistency."
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