Italians demanding Norwegian lamb

Norwegian mutton ham tastes good! That is the judgement of Italian consumers according to researchers who have conducted focus groups in Italy and Norway as part of the Arctic Lamb project.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Margrethe Hersleth
Margrethe Hersleth

Research Director
Phone: +47 901 89 021
margrethe.hersleth@nofima.no

None

Norwegian mutton ham tastes good! That is the judgement of Italian consumers according to researchers who have conducted focus groups in Italy and Norway as part of the Arctic Lamb project.

The consumers who were selected for the focus groups had to like lamb meat and be very interested in food preparation in order to be able to participate.

The taste of salt

The Italian consumers were preoccupied with the appearance of the meat, and commented on the fact that the colour was extremely important.
"Nor should there be too much salt. That the problem is not the "taste of lamb" but the "taste of salt" is a comment that the producers would be highly advised to take into consideration," says researcher Margrethe Hersleth.
"Not unexpectedly, the Italians thought that the taste was too sharp, and needed to be adapted to the Italian palate. Italian consumers would like to be able to combine the product with other raw materials, such as cheese, chives, rocket, kiwi fruit and melon," continues Hersleth.

The Norwegian focus groups were, in contrast, preoccupied with maintaining the authenticity of Norwegian mutton ham, and were more sceptical about mixing it with foreign raw materials. A number of people reacted to putting mutton ham into a Greek dish.

The input from the focus groups will be useful information when in 2008 the project group will plan a large consumer study in Norway and Italy, in which between 100-150 consumers from each of the two countries will be involved.

Country of origin is important

The Italians associated Norwegian lamb with a clean environment and solid laws and regulations. The attitude was that Italian lamb is also good, however they were more sceptical towards meat from Eastern Europe and New Zealand," explains Margrethe Hersleth.

The focus groups in Norway emphasized that lamb for the production of mutton ham must be herded in the mountains. The consumers were also of the opinion that it is important that Norwegian lamb be used for mutton ham, but the specific region of Norway was deemed to be less important by the Norwegian groups. The Italians were in complete accordance with the Norwegian consumers and gave the following recommendation: "Norwegian Lamb" should be the brand name, not other brand names such as "Arctic Lamb". The argument in favour of this was that "Norwegian fish" is a stamp of quality in Italy, and that it is important to leverage this positive reputation.

Consumer and sensory sciences  

Related content