Te Mana Lamb, the product of the Omega Lamb Project, has been officially launched by Prime Minister Bill English in Hong Kong.

Promoted as being the world's tastiest and healthiest lamb, the project is a collaboration between Alliance Group, Headwaters Group and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

It involved bringing healthy fat back on to the menu by producing lambs with naturally higher polyunsaturated fatty acids, intramuscular fat and omega-3.

Guests at a gala dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, attended by Mr English and the Hong Kong business community, were among the first international diners to try Te Mana Lamb.

Advertisement

It was now on the menu of a limited number of "exclusive' Hong Kong and New Zealand restaurants before plans were finalised to launch in other markets.

The lambs were bred in the South Island hill and high country and brought down to graze selected chicory and chicory/red clover pastures.

About 30,000 lambs had reached the programme's criteria for Omega-3 intramuscular and polyunsaturated fats this year.

Omega Lamb Project general manager Mike Tate said New Zealand lamb was internationally renowned for its quality by consumers and the hospitality industry.

However, Te Mana Lamb was ``something different'' and the specific breeding programme and pasture requirements did not lend themselves initially to mass production.

"At this stage, it is very much aimed at the fine dining experience,'' Mr Tate said.
There had been an "extremely positive'' response from chefs and feedback from multiple taste panels showed the extra "good fats'' enhanced succulence and eating quality, he said.

Alliance Group general manager marketing Peter Russell said the project revealed ``a very promising premium future'' for farmers.

The project was touted as having the potential to add more than $400 million in new export earnings and increase lamb revenues by 34% for adopting farmers.