Increasing the sustainability of northeastern goat farms via the establishment of value-added goat meat products in new, nontraditional markets

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2006: $9,973.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $17,100.00
Region: Northeast
State: New Jersey
Project Leader:
H. Louis Cooperhouse
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Annual Reports


  • Animals: goats


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, focus group
  • Farm Business Management: market study, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    This project seeks to increase the sustainability and growth of goat farms located in the Northeast by cultivating new marketing opportunities for goat meat by non-traditional consumers. Prior research has demonstrated that significant interest exists for value-added goat meat outside of traditional ethnic markets, and this project will help to realize the potential of this opportunity particularly in upscale foodservice and retail venues. Understanding the market potential for goat meat will directly impact sales, net income and sustainability for goat farms in the Northeast region, while also creating a new opportunity for farms that are interested in transitioning to raising goats.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project will include the development of custom processing cuts of goat meat, product development and the creation of a preparation manual with the cooperation of a leading foodservice supplier (D’Artagnan) and culinary school (The French Culinary Institute), and consumer tasting preference trials that will be conducted by the Department of Food Science at Rutgers University. Outreach will be to farmers, restaurateurs, and consumers throughout the Northeast via press releases to newspapers and industry trade magazines and journals, as well as through product announcements, presentations, seminars, website publication, and product demonstrations/tastings at major national trade shows such as the Fancy Food Show.

    This project proposes a solution to create more profitable marketing avenues available to goat farmers so they can increase their sustainability. Goat meat is readily available today in most cultural and religious-based butcher shops, supermarkets and restaurants. However, goat meat is not typically available today in mainstream butcher shops, nor is it readily seen in foodservice or retail establishments in any value-added form. The majority of New Jersey butcher shops do not sell goat meat (355 evaluated by Lechner, 2002), and currently goat meat is rarely found on the menus of New Jersey fine dining restaurants (230 evaluated by Lechner, 2005). Compounding this problem is that goat meat is typically available in forms that are not recognizable to the traditional mass market customer base. Goat meat is commonly sold as primal cuts (shoulder, rack, loin and leg), while traditional mass market consumers are accustomed to purchasing processed cuts (roasts, steaks, chops, etc). Additionally, restaurant management (owners, managers and chef) and non-traditional consumers of goat meat have limited knowledge of this product and its preparation.

    Based on market research that has been conducted (Lechner, 2005), the fine-dining restaurant industry has expressed strong interest in learning more about opportunities for using consistent, high quality cuts of goat meat in the preparation of value-added entrees. Restaurants and other foodservice establishments have the potential to play an important role by introducing goat meat to consumers. People who are reluctant to purchase raw goat meat for home preparation may be more willing to try goat meat, if it were properly prepared and presented in a restaurant setting (Degner, 1991, cited in Pinkerton et al., 2000). Restaurants that serve either ethnic-based cuisine or gourmet meats and fine-dining foods provide the greatest potential. If this strategy is effective, it could encourage consumers to purchase goat meat for home preparation (Alford, 1998).

    Educating restaurant management (owners, managers and chefs) about goat meat and its preparation is critical to maximizing the potential of this marketing outlet. A formalized and widely-accepted preparation and recipe guide for goat meat that can be utilized by the restaurant industry does not currently exist. Goat meat can be more difficult to prepare than beef and lamb, since it contains less intramuscular fat. Culinary students are typically not exposed to goat meat during their training. If not prepared correctly the meat can easily dry out and become tough and unpalatable. The American Lamb Board has developed a chef education program to educate chefs and the student community on the features and benefits of American Lamb. One of the slogans is “Educating the Chef of Tomorrow”. This project is very successful and has opened up new marketing opportunities for American Lamb. This same model will be applied for developing the market potential for goat meat.

    The Rutgers Food Innovation Center will collaborate with Goat World, the lead collaborator on this project and a leading goat farmer in New Jersey, and D’Artagnan, a leading purveyor of upscale specialty meat products to the world's top restaurants, hotels, retailers, cruise ships and airlines, that is based in Newark, NJ. Leading culinary associations, such as The French Culinary Institute, have been contacted that will assist in the development of a preparation and recipe guide for goat meat that can be utilized by both the restaurant industry and consumers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.