NORTH SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — While increasing numbers of foodservice operators have begun offering smaller portions, such as mini-burgers, Meat & Livestock Australia relays it has launched a new effort to promote shared eating called the ‘Tomahawk’ in Adelaide earlier this week. Taking its name from the 30 centimeters of rib bone that is left on the meat while cooking, the Tomahawk is one of the largest rib-eye steaks in Australia, weighing from 2.9 to 5.5 lbs.

The steak is designed to be carved at the table and shared between four to six people, said Bill Lindsay, M.L.A.’s South Australian business development manager, who co-hosted 87 of Adelaide’s finest chefs and food media at the lunch launch.

"We hope chefs will take it up as a piece of theater and have some fun in their restaurants," Mr. Lindsay said. "Because it is a new concept, consumers should ask their butchers and restaurants to order the special cut. It would make a great conversation piece for a dinner with friends."

Creating this new steak tackles the current economic climate head-on, said Lachlan Bowtell, M.L.A.’s marketing manager, Trade. "With the Australian foodservice sector experiencing a bit of a downturn due to the global economic crisis, we are taking the bull by the horns (or the ribs) and adding some excitement to the beef scene."

A firm commitment has already been made by several South Australian outlets planning to offer the item, along with wholesaler support.

"We are also talking to a number of processors to get the specification in the boning room changed to accommodate the increased bone length, and so far we have received some real encouragement by two processors, in particular," Mr. Bowtell said. "So, in these times of ‘a selling down’ attitude in foodservice, we have done the opposite with a novelty steak giving the customer what they want — nutritious, delicious beef coupled with a unique experience."