35% of Irish consumers eat lamb on two or more occasions each month, a recent EU survey has found.

The findings come from the baseline study of the recently launched EU Lamb Promotion campaign aimed at informing consumers in the 25 to 45 age bracket of the social and environmental role played by lamb production.

It was also aimed at increasing the attractiveness of lamb as an ‘everyday’ meat of choice.

Irish consumers aged 25 to 45 are more aware of the role lamb production plays in the rural economy and environment than their EU counterparts, it found.

They are also more aware of advertising campaigns for lamb promotion and can recall the content of advertisements more readily.

The results of the survey on meat consumption, lamb consumption, the image of lamb and lamb production and consumer awareness of promotional campaigns will now inform the promotional initiatives in each of the six participating countries.

The survey was carried out in Ireland, the UK and France which are the co-sponsors of the campaign and in Germany, Denmark and Belgium which are seen as growth markets for EU lamb.

Bord Bia along with AHDB in the UK and Interbev in France are rolling out the campaign in their respective domestic markets and in the target export markets.

The three-year information and promotion campaign will be assessed again in 2017 to measure the impact on consumption in the six countries involved.

While the overall findings show that there is a way to go to increase the consumption of lamb and the awareness of the role of sheep farming in the rural areas and in the rural environment, there are also many encouraging signs for the development of the sector at home and in export markets, Bord Bia said.

According to Declan Fennell, Bord Bia’s lamb expert, the survey provides a positive platform from which to launch the campaign.

“This survey confirms that Irish consumers are supportive of lamb production and understand its importance.

“With the support of this campaign, we hope to increase consumption on the domestic market through a print and digital marketing campaign and by raising awareness of alternative lamb cuts and cooking recipes which can make it more of an ‘everyday’ meal option.

“When the sample cohort was prompted in relation to which countries produce lamb, Ireland was rated in the top two, and generally number one import supplier, confirming our already strong export reputation,” he said.