Australians leading way in innovative thinking

By Baxter Black: Guest Columist

The sign in the health food store in Sydney, New South Wales read, “Sheep Placenta — On Sale! Half Price!” It was also printed in Chinese.

My first thoughts were “Do they eat it? Rub it on? Make party favors of it? Kick it around like a soccer ball?”

I’m guessing it is an ingredient in Chinese herbal medicine that is available in Australia but is still too ookie for mainstream McDonald’s America.

While I was in Melbourne, I ordered a scoop of fancy honey-flavored ice cream that carried the warning label “Contains gelatin.” I asked the vendor why the warning. “To alert the vegan crowd who might be sensitive,” he said. “It’s made from animal products, ya know.”

“You mean like all the other flavors of ice cream on display that comes directly from the cow’s udder?” I asked.

I pondered again how difficult it is to maintain strict vegetarian standards. How their body can be thrown off kilter by eating jello, much less the afterbirth of sheep.

Then, to complete the down-under trifecta, in the Auckland airport they were offering duty-free colostrum! I peeked inside the door. I’m not sure what I was expecting. A Jamba Juice Franchise offering colostrum/peanut butter cup Smoothies? A line of stanchioned nanny goats? A freezer full of baggies from the local dairy equipment dealer? It turned out to be a powder that declared, “This product is not guaranteed to do anything, but it is of high quality.” Sort of like Cheetos or monkey brains, I guess.

What’s really good about my shopping survey is that it shows the entrepreneurial marketing spirit of the livestock raisers in Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are meat and dairy friendly. They like their hogget, snags, silverside and take-away chooks.

It was inspiring. I’ve seen our own beef promoters tenderize and rename less popular beef cuts to make them more appealing. Whoever invented bacon and barbeque sauce saved the pork producers. Chicken is the tofu of meat. It tastes like whatever you put on it. Which leaves the sheep producers.

Lamb sells in Australia because it’s cheap and there’s so much of it. Maybe we can accomplish the same thing by breeding larger ewes, say Holstein size. Or if that doesn’t seem feasible, breed them bite size … like prawns. Peel them, kabob them and use the hide to make wool glove fingers!

Bless those inventive Aussies. They have shown us how to think bigger!

P.S. The colostrum powder tastes like Brie-flavored Metamucil.