Christmas is a festive period and one characterised by high meat consumption. As the festive season approaches, sector experts are already busy to ensure that nothing is missing on Italian tables. Lamb is undoubtedly one of the traditional dishes on the menu for the festive season. Data from the Sardinian GPI Lamb Consortium indicate that production from late November 2014 alone will come to between 200 and 300 thousand head. These significant numbers highlight the growing interest in this type of meat given its high nutritional and biological value.
Consumers, however, should keep an eye out for possible counterfeits. The phenomenon of counterfeiting lamb with EU recognition is by now very widespread. For this reason, the Consortium has decided to draw up a set of guidelines for the benefit of consumers who want to eat a product born, reared and slaughtered in Sardinia. “We must raise awareness and recognition of the PGI mark, which ensures compliance with production regulations by all producers belonging to the Consortium,” Eurocarne Post was told by Director Patrizia Pitzalis, “but also make known the nutritional values of this type of meat.”
The production path envisages free-range breeding in wild and semi-wild conditions and natural feed, which explains many of the special features of this product. These include a good ratio between Omega 6 and Omega 3 values, excellent vitamin E content with excellent antioxidant activity and ideal levels of essential amino acids, thereby making lamb, when cooked properly, an essential food in everyone's diet.
“Compared to other PGI lamb breeds in Italy,” Pitzalis went on, “Sardinian lamb is characterized by a lower weight. We traditionally breed dairy sheep. However, consumption of sheep meat in Italy is still very limited. In addition to our home market, Rome, Milan and Naples are cities with a keen interest in this type of product. And then there are exports, with Spain in the forefront. Lamb is still not eaten on a particularly widespread scale, despite being inexpensive and easy to cook.”
Nonetheless, forecasts for 2015 are good. “We have a project in mind for next year,” Pitzalis concluded, “for promoting PGI Sardinian Lamb and its properties, which make it particularly healthy and quick to cook. We will present a series of simple and inexpensive recipes. President Salvatore Bussu also believes that the keyword is growth. At the end of 2013, we had more than 500,000 certified head of livestock and we intend to improve this figure by a further 100,000 head by the end of 2014; we also aim to increase the number of companies belonging to the Consortium, currently around 4000, of which most are breeders.”
Source: Eurocarne Outlook