PRIME Dorper Lamb has been available to Brisbane customers for the past six months, and while there have been a few challenges, it's delivering on its goal - to deliver high quality lamb to customers, and premium prices to producers.
The PDL Marketplace, which is a result of a Meat and Livestock Australia supported project, has been successful in Queensland, and project manager Joe Barnewell hopes to grow the business to make Dorper meat available around the country.
"The original concept is still there, to have a product where a consumer can order directly from a farmer online and have it delivered in a half carcase pack, but we've found that customers prefer a family pack, and we're also selling full carcase packs and individual cuts as well," Mr Barnewell said.
The brand has had steady growth of more than 20 per cent each month, and at the moment it's focused on the south east Queensland market, offering a monthly delivery service to Brisbane, Toowoomba and Ipswich.
"We're learning about what works and what doesn't, targeting a specific group of customers who want to have the best quality lamb they can get," Mr Barnewell said.
"When this project was being conceived three years ago Michael Lee from MLA was superb in directing and guiding DSSA board members and ourselves as consultants in working out who the consumer is, and that research has really paid off.
"We've been following through with client centred research.
"We're up to the fifth delivery now and two customers have bought five times, and about half our clientele have bought every month since their first purchase."
Once the Brisbane market is at a sustainable size, Mr Barnewell hopes to replicate it in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.
There's also interest from small boutique delicatessens in Brisbane, as well as international interest.
We're learning about what works and what doesn't, targeting a specific group of customers who want to have the best quality lamb they can get.
"We've had global enquiries from Middle Eastern markets, from the European Union and particularly Switzerland.
"Customers in Switzerland will pay $100 a kilogram for some cuts. It's a very small, very targeted market, but it's a good opportunity."
Another area that needs to expand is the supply of lamb, but Mr Barnewell's focus is on high quality, and all lambs processed for the brand need to strict carcase and Meat Standards Australia requirements.
"In Queensland we've got four really good Dorper breeders, producing a nicely finished lamb, with the right of amount of fat and good eating quality.
"Those producers have reached their capacity, so we want to start reaching out to more producers, but we need to make sure they understand what we're after."
The business only sources lamb from Dorper society members.
"The goal is to create a clear pathway to market for high quality produce that returns the producers with a really good price," Mr Barnewell said.
"The standard price we're offering at the moment is $10/kg for lambs delivered to the producer. We really want to make sure the producer's getting a good price to build up volume and grow the business."