Endeavour Meats turns up the heat on export growth

Endeavour Meats is only 3 years old, but the company is already doing serious business. In 2021–22, the Orange, NSW-based business has won new contracts totalling $3.5 million in Thailand. It has also scored new deals worth over $250,000 in the Philippines.

These successes were facilitated by Austrade, who provided market briefings, contacted and qualified potential customers, and connected Endeavour Meats to interested parties. It allowed the company to move quickly on active opportunities and secure the deals.

‘Our contacts at Austrade in Australia have been fantastic, and so are the teams overseas,’ says Tim Sullivan, Endeavour Meats’ Director for Global Branded Sales and Supply Chains. ‘During COVID-19, they walked the board for us when we couldn’t get to markets.

‘Austrade has been a valuable partner on our export journey to date. Their work is recognised by all of us at Endeavour Meats.’

Strong growth in challenging times

Endeavour Meats was formed in 2019 by four senior members of Sanger, one of Australia’s largest red meat exporters. The company works with some of Australia’s largest meat producers as well as independent farms. It represents a range of premium brands including Five Founders, Kinross Station Lamb, Willow Bend Lamb, Kiewa Valley Lamb, Bass Strait and Cabonne Country.

At a time when the meat industry is grappling with supply and logistics issues, Endeavour Meats is bucking the trend. The company has surpassed its financial targets since 2020–21, growing from a $50 million business in 2019–20 to an estimated $160 million in 2021–22.

‘We’re very proud of our growth – but it’s not without its challenges and risks,’ says Sullivan. ‘We’ve had to be nimble in response to these challenges and risks. It’s our trusted relationships with producers and contacts in the supply chain that have allowed us to pivot and try new things.’

Multimillion-dollar sales to new customers in Thailand

This nimble approach served Endeavour Meats well when trade issues hit its business in China. It quickly turned its attention to markets in Southeast Asia. It saw an opportunity to export more product to a region with a fast-growing middle-class population.

There are no tariffs or quotas for Australian beef and sheep meat exports under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.

‘We were super keen and bullish about Thailand,’ says Sullivan. ‘Without the tariffs and quotas, it’s become a level playing field. There was now a great opportunity to export our high-end Wagyu and grain-feed beef and build on our presence there.’

Closed borders meant Endeavour Meats could not travel to Thailand to do business. Instead, the company sent Austrade a list of importers and retailers it was interested in. Austrade contacted these businesses to determine their interest in Endeavour Meats’ products. The agency also provided a market briefing and advice on how to grow in the market.

‘Six of the nine companies on our list said yes,’ says Sullivan. ‘This was a fantastic outcome in challenging times. We’ve won around $3.5 million in new sales to Thailand in 2021–22 to date.’

With Thailand’s tourism sector open again, Endeavour Meats hopes to win even more business from the country’s large foodservice industry.

‘It’s very pleasing to not only get the growth, but to be able to diversify from markets that pose risks to our business,’ says Sullivan.

Lamb cutlets on a board

Above: Australian lamb cutlets.

New business in the Philippines

Endeavour Meats also worked with Austrade to grow business in the Philippines. The company again gave Austrade a wish list of importers and retailers to follow up. The agency also provided a market briefing and advice on how to grow in the market.

‘To date, we’ve won around $250,000 in new business,’ says Sullivan. ‘One of these was with a company we’ve done business with previously, and who was reintroduced to us by Austrade. It’s great to be back in the market.’

Sullivan is optimistic business in the Philippines will start to pick up. ‘We’ve sent five shipments already and expect this to grow as the country’s economy charges up and the tourism sector reopens.’

Next stops: Vietnam and the Middle East

Endeavour Meats is now working with Austrade to develop new opportunities in Vietnam and the Middle East. The company has already seen promising results in Vietnam.

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