Ethnic marketing of
lamb and mutton
Part I. Ethnic market background
Sheep & Goat Specialist
University of Maryland Extension
Per capita consumption of lamb is very
low, less than 1 lb. per person; however,
consumption is much higher among
people of certain ethnic and religious
Population trends and immigration
patterns favor an increase in the
demand for lamb, mutton, and goat.
Imports comprise anywhere from ⅓ to ½
of the domestic lamb market; however,
ethnic consumers usually prefer a fresh
Lamb is the preferred meat for the three
major religions: Christian, Muslim, and
Jewish; demand usually increases in
advance of major holidays.
Comparison of lamb markets
Non-traditional, including ethnic
• Higher volume
• Little variability in type of
lamb sold: mostly large
lambs finished in feedlots.
• Price volatility; market
• Long-term decline in
• Continuing loss of
• Must change to survive
• Lower volume
• Demand outstrips supply
• Markets have room to grow due
to favorable demographics.
• Less price sensitivity and volatility
because producers often
• More competitive with imported
• More consumer feedback
• Variable demand for type of lamb.
• Can meet demand with different
breeds and types and different
production systems and feeding
What is an ethnic market?
• An ethnic market is a group of consumers that share a
common cultural background: race, color, national
origin, religion, or language.
• There is no single ethnic market for lamb and mutton.
• The ethnic market is composed of many different
market segments, with consumers in each group
having different buying preferences.
Two largest demand sectors for lamb
Two largest demand sectors for lamb
• Hispanics are the fastest
growing minority group.
• The Latin wave is bigger than
the baby boomer generation.
• Hispanic buying power has
increased 76% since 1990.
• Hispanic families are larger.
• Hispanics are more likely to
cook at home and from
• Hispanics spend more money
on food than the average
• There are as many as 8 million
Muslims in U.S.
• The annual growth rate (6%) is
larger than U.S. population
• It is the same size community
as Hispanics were 25 years
• The average Muslim is
Population trends and immigration patterns
favor an increase in the demand for lamb.
U.S. Population Demographics
Population (2012 estimate)
Native American (Indian, Eskimo)
Hispanic or Latino
Language other than English spoken in home
Per capita income
Median household income
Below poverty level
Sheep meat is favored by the three major
religions: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim.
Percentage among all U.S. adults
Don’t know/refused to answer
Determining population demographics
• United States Census Bureau
• Pew Research Center
• Faith in Communities Today
• Allied Media Corporation
• Other web sites via internet searches
Identify potential ethnic consumers
Identify Mosques and
Orthodox churches in your area.
Identify ethnic or foreign
stores and businesses near
to your farm.
Identify universities and
colleges with ethnic or foreign
faculty and students.
Don’t overlook doctors and other
professionals as potential consumers of
lamb and goat.
Identify farms and other businesses that employ seasonal, foreign,
or immigrant labor.
Targeting ethnic consumers
• Visit mosques, churches,
and community centers.
• Contact foreign student
• Make contacts at sale barns
• Advertise in ethnic media.
• Put notices up at ethnic
stores and businesses.
• List your farm on available
• Establish your own web site.
Marketing to ethnic consumers
• Determine the type of lamb your customers
want, when and how. (2nd webinar).
• Evaluate marketing options (3rd webinar)
• Develop a marketing and production plan
(4th webinar) that ensures a profit.
Slaughter options for sheep and lambs
• There are four levels of inspection in the U.S.
1) Federal (USDA)
4) Personal exemption
(i.e. on-farm slaughter)
It may be necessary to facilitate slaughter for ethnic consumers: know the options.
• Highest level of inspection.
• No restrictions on sale of
• Extensive sanitary requirements
for facility; HACCP plans
• Pre and post-inspection
• Access to federally-inspected
slaughter may be limited in
Topics | Inspection | FSIS-Inspected Establishments: Meat and Poultry Inspection Directory
• Federal-state partnership: state inspection must be “at-least equal”
to federal inspection. Most state regulations mirror federal
• Sale of meat is usually limited to sales
within state of slaughter.
• Only 27 states have state meat
• Producers in states without state meat
inspection are subject to federal
regulations and any additional regulations
imposed by their state or county.
Topics | Inspection | State Inspection and Cooperative Agreements
• Exempt from continuous inspection.
• There are sanitary requirements for
slaughter facility and inspection
• No pre or post-mortem inspection
• Meat must be stamped “not for
resale” and returned to owner for
consumption by owner, family, nonpaying guests, and employees.
• Be sure to sell a live animal when
utilizing custom-exempt slaughter.
• Allows a farmer to
slaughter an animal of
his own raising.
• No inspection of facility
• Consumption of meat
limited to farmer, family,
non-paying guests, and
• Most states consider the on-farm
slaughter of an animal to be illegal
except by the person who raised it
(Illinois has added an ownership
requirement of at least 30 days).
• In particular, state regulators are
opposed to allowing a buyer to
slaughter an animal on the farm
where it was purchased.
• In reality, USDA and most states
fail to address the legal rights of
the buyer to slaughter his own
animal; thus, leaving it open to
Does USDA’s personal exemption allow the buyer of a
live animal to slaughter the animal for his own use?
Personal exemption comparison
• The owner of
the animal is
be the owner
• Seller must sell
a live animal
and not assist in
the slaughter in
• Recently passed a
law that will allow
slaughter of up
to 25 sheep (or
3,500 lbs. of an
• Slaughter site
must be sanitary
and designed to
• All slaughter must
take place in an
regulated by the
• Only exemption is
for the person
who raised the
Be sure to know the laws in your
own state and how they are
interpreted and enforced.
Potential sources of information
• State Department of Agriculture
• State Department of Health
• County Health Department
• USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS)
• State Extension Services
• Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network @
About religious slaughter
• 1) Halal (Muslim)
2) Kosher (Jewish)
• Religious or ritual slaughter is
exempt from U.S. Humane Slaughter
– Primary difference is that animals are not
stunned prior to slaughter (however,
animals should be properly restrained for
– It may also be necessary for a Muslim or
Rabbi to perform the slaughter.
• In some locales, there may be
limited access to plants that perform
religious (esp. certified) slaughter.
• A Muslim may be able to perform
Halal slaughter in some customexempt plants.
Humane (Halal) On-Farm Slaughter
Poster available from www.sheepgoatmarketing.info: Education | Resources
Marketing lamb/mutton to ethnic consumers
Higher prices/profit possible.
Ability to negotiate prices.
Less price volatility.
Less price sensitivity.
May get feedback from
• May be able to develop
market(s) for less desirable
animals (e.g. culls).
• Can sometimes “hold” lambs
without losing market
Need to learn customs of different ethnic
Ethnic marketing opportunities will be
limited by population demographics in
region (ethnic groups tend to live in or
near large urban centers).
Language and cultural differences
Dates of religious observances change
Demand is concentrated a few times
during the year.
Producers often flood the markets prior
to religious observances, resulting in
Direct marketing can be time-consuming.
May need to change the way you raise
sheep (including breeds).
You may already be marketing your lambs
to non-traditional (ethnic) markets.
Thank you for
The next webinar will be held
Tuesday, November 26 at 7 p.m. EST.
The topic will be “Understanding
the ethnic consumer.” The speaker
will be Katherine Harrison from
Blystone Farm and Butcher Shop in