McDonald's Restaurants New Zealand, the local arm of the world's largest fast food chain, last month pulled lamb products from its permanent menu after sluggish sales.
McDonald's NZ in August became the first of McDonald's Corp's units to add lamb to its permanent menu at 160 restaurants following two years of product development.
McDonald's reduced the size and price of its initial lamb burger in January in response to customer demand and took lamb off the permanent menu last month, spokeswoman Kim Bartlett said in a statement.
Federated Farmers is saddened by the move but understands the commercial reality after local sales "tailed off'', said the group's Meat and Fibre spokesperson Jeanette Maxwell. Rival companies Burger Fuel and Burger Wisconsin feature lamb on permanent menus and Subway had also used the product, she said.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Burger Fuel is expanding in the Middle East, where lamb is a favoured meat protein, and the farmer lobby group hopes McDonald's, which bought 210 tonnes of lamb last year, may export the meat to its units around the world in the future, Maxwell said.
New Zealand lamb exports fell 11 percent to $2.3 billion in 2012 from 2011, even as the volume of lamb sold jumped 9 percent, according to the latest report from the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Lamb may make a "cameo appearance'' at McDonald's in the future in the same way the company had offered a 'Moroccan lamb burger' and a 'lamb snack wrap' for a limited time, Bartlett said.