The Jenga-like nature of markets is revealed in the tale of Australia’s kangaroo-meat crisis. There was a time when steaks and chops taken from Down Under’s most celebrated marsupials seemed destined to become a staple of butcher’s shops the world over. No country developed a more ravenous appetite for kangaroo meat than Russia, which came to account for 70 percent of the global market. Then, in 2009, Russia abruptly decided that it wasn’t cool with the hardscrabble ways in which the meat is produced. (See here for the first-person account of an Outback ‘roo shooter.) The Russian ban has yet to be lifted, to the great distress of Australian producers who claim they’re on the edge of extinction.
So what is the solution, other than coaxing Russia to start eating ‘roo meat once more? Sausages:
Tapping new markets for roo meat is seen as the best solution to help the struggling industry and deal with the overpopulation of kangaroos.
John Kelly, Australian Kangaroo Industry Association chief says top quality cuts of kangaroo meat – like steaks – continue to be exported to over 50 countries.
Mr Kelly says the problem is selling what is termed manufacturing meat – like sausage mince – from kangaroos.
“What we desperately need is for these other meat cuts to find a new market, as this is what the Russians were buying,” he said.
This presents a fascinating marketing challenge: How do you convince consumers to not only start eating a meat that is strange to them, but also one that is so low-grade that it must be mashed up into a tubular concoction rife with herbs and spices? And how do you compete on price against industrial meats like beef and pork? Roaming around the Outback with a rifle is labor intensive, and thus expensive.
Leave your ideas for kangaroo-sausage ad slogans in comments.