Trio trade on Aussie red meat reputation

Zach RelphCountryman
Jarryd Morton, with Rhys and James Williamson, are selling red meat in China.
Camera IconJarryd Morton, with Rhys and James Williamson, are selling red meat in China. Credit: Samuel Hesketh

Sons from two longstanding WA livestock families are capitalising on Australia’s positive red meat reputation, filling a void in international market demand for high-end products.

Brothers Rhys and James Williamson, whose father is well-known Landmark agent Craig Williamson, and former Hawthorn utility Jarryd Morton, son of Elders agent Noel Morton, are the masterminds behind Latitude 28 Produce.

Latitude 28, founded two years ago, supplies premium Australia-produced lamb, sheepmeat and beef to the overseas market through blockchain technology which underpins the products’ Australian roots.

The three Hale School alumni are using the retail-ready brand as an avenue to break into the Chinese red meat scene, while also aiming to supply to Asian neighbours South Korea, Japan and Singapore.

James, who spent a year living in China alongside Rhys in 2013 to learn Mandarin, said Chinese consumers placed a significant importance on product authentication amid the country’s growing demand for premium beef.

“We are very fortunate to have inherited a strong national brand and the need to authenticate products over there is massive,” he said.

“The Chinese consumer wants to learn about Australia and where the product comes from.

“It is an exciting landscape in China and we embrace it and enjoy it.”

Meat and Livestock Australia figures show China’s direct chilled beef imports increased from close to zero in 2007 to 6558 tonnes shipped weight in 2017, with Australia supplying the vast majority.

Latitude 28 is homing in on the developing Chinese demand by marketing its premium product line through social media and sharing the paddock-to-plate experience. The trio have launched a smart phone app which verifies Latitude 28 products and provides purchasers with the products’ journey along the supply chain.

On the back of the developing business, Latitude 28 was awarded the AgriStart Harvest Accelerator 2.0 Program’s export award after completion of the 10-week program.

Rhys said the course allowed for engagement with fellow businesses within the agricultural space, industry and government.

“It was a good platform to work and engage with DPIRD (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development) and MLA,” he said.

“The program, on a whole, was a great experience.”

Jarryd, a former livewire drafted by Hawthorn in the 2006 AFL national draft, also manages Morton Export Meat Western Australia to source, supply and process livestock for an overseas customer base.

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