Germans acquire taste for Scots beef

Norbert Kunz of Recke Fleischwaren is flanked by QMS chief executive Uel Morton, left, and chairman, Jim McLaren. Picture: Contributed
Norbert Kunz of Recke Fleischwaren is flanked by QMS chief executive Uel Morton, left, and chairman, Jim McLaren. Picture: Contributed
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It IS almost two decades since barriers were erected preventing Scotch beef and lamb entering the lucrative German market but now there seems to be a breakthrough, with customers praising the quality of meat they can buy from this country.

Speaking at the Anuga food fair in Cologne yesterday, Norbert Kunz, chief executive of Recke Fleischwaren of Berlin, said he was “absolutely delighted” with the quality of the Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb his firm have been supplied with by Porthlethen-based McIntosh Donald.

The family-owned company has just taken in its second shipment which will be distributed to some of the 3,500 butchers, retailers and restaurants supplied by Recke.

This trade is a successful step in a policy adopted by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) two years ago, when it expanded its export efforts by targeting Germany and the Scandanavian market. At the time, QMS said it was a conscious decision to move into economically strong countries.

Peter Toholt, who is responsible for market development in Germany for QMS, said that he had several other companies on the verge of taking Scottish meat and he confirmed these potential customers were looking for a range of cuts.

Also out in Anuga, Simon Dowling, director of exporting pioneers, Scotbeef of Bridge of Allan, said he was also getting more interest from Germany where the economy was strong and this helped offset more difficult trading conditions in other countries such as Italy and Greece. Dowling said buyers were very price conscious and Scottish meat was under pressure from competing countries such as Ireland as well as more recent entrants to the international meat trade – a recent example being Poland which is now supplying a lot of beef into Italy.

The importance of the export trade to the Scottish livestock industry was confirmed by Jim McLaren, chairman of QMS, when he revealed red meat exports were worth around £78 million in the past year, a rise of 2 per cent on the previous 12 months.

McLaren said: “While there is demand from overseas customers for the very top end of quality products from Scotland, there is also encouraging volume demand from overseas markets for fifth quarter and lower value products. This is good news in terms of optimising returns for the whole carcase.”