What must be in place:
- Monthly provision
- Control the genetics (quality)
- Own feedlot
- Butcher and package yourself
- Marketing Platform
- Cold chain & distribution network
- Samic registration and protocol
- Systems to operate everything
If a producer wants to supply lambs directly to the end consumer, this cannot be done on a “now and then” basis. There must always be lambs in production. I.E. there must be continuous lameness.
Control the quality
To control the quality one cannot buy lambs “left, right and centre”. Age and growth potential of lambs is a limiting factor if you really want to offer uniform quality. In terms of South Africa’s grading system, lame remains lame until he changes. It can even be as old as 14 months. Lambs slaughtered between the ages of 3-5 months have significantly more tender and juicy meat than lambs that are 10-11 months old.
This is essential for 2 reasons. Adding value as well as control over what the lamb eats. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of what they eat. We decided to go antibiotic, growth stimulant and ionivore free, with a low grain component. For us, this is the golden mean to a young juicy lamb, but still a relatively “clean” lamb.
Butcher and package yourself
As you probably know, the lamb market is extremely competitive and traditionally R/kg is marketed. However, Woolworths managed to develop a new premium market with improved packaging as well as the perception of a “clean” lamb. All packaging must therefore be the same or better than Woolworths’ to be able to compete in that market.
This is twofold. Firstly, a brand must be built and secondly, there must be a user-friendly online mechanism for a customer to easily buy a lamb. We chose to go the Apple and Android mobile app route. Furthermore, establishing a brand with the right persona is a specialized process. A brand must be positioned correctly if one wants to compete in a premium market. The association should be “quality” instead of “price”.
Cold chain & distribution network
Loadshedding has changed the entire playing field. If you are driven by quality, you can under no circumstances entrust your cold chain to a 3rd party. The risk is just too great. So the total cold chain must be under the brand owner’s control. From slaughter until the front doorbell is rung. So the owner of the brand must own its own depots and vehicle fleet. Consumers must have access to the cooling data of their lamb.
Samic registration and protocol
What makes the product different? To compete in the premium lamb market, the product must be a premium product. There must be enough “unique selling points” to sway the consumer’s head towards the product. We believe that “trust” will play the biggest role in the future. The “know what you eat” principle. The protocol must therefore absolutely be created around “trust” and therefore a Samic registration is beneficial. The fact that one’s product is audited by a 3rd party creates trust, together with data access for the consumer regarding the total production process.
Systems to operate everything
Unique systems are required to manage the process from the time the lamb is born until it is delivered to the front door. Especially if individual traceability is offered to the consumer. Except for “where the lamb comes from”, the consumer has access to all relevant data about the lamb. From medicine to ration. Unique to the lamb ordered. Without the right technology in place, it is impossible to make this data available to the consumer.
Check out the following links to see how we do it:
- Our protocol summarized in our “4-Pillar Promise”
- Our marketing platform
- What our customer sees when he “scans” his QR code on a package of meat with his mobile phone camera (*Make sure you also press: CLICK HERE FOR BREAKDOWN)
- Short excerpt of our system we developed under the IntelliFarm™️ brand
Currently we only serve the Garden Route as well as Cape Wineland. Once we are well established in these two “niche” market areas we expand to Gauteng and greater Cape Town. Any expansion is accompanied by the expansion of our cold chain infrastructure.
Before the end of 2023, I will publish our 2024 calendar in which we will offer open weekends for farmers who want to come and see how we have transformed farming into a business.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.