Exporters hope to beef up sales in Middle East market

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Scottish farmers hoping to target new markets in the Middle East saw Scotch beef as the centrepice of a menu celebrating the best of Scottish produce in Dubai last night.

The debut for Scotch beef in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was at a networking dinner organised by Scotland Development International (SDI) at the Gulfood event.

The beef was supplied by Aberdeenshire meat processor McIntosh Donald.

Gulfood, the world’s biggest annual food and hospitality show, this year hosts a record 4,200 exhibitors from 110 countries showcasing more than 50,000 brands across every sector of the food and beverage industry.

Laurent Vernet, head of marketing with Quality Meat Scotland, said the UAE offers exciting potential for Scotch beef, with Dubai viewed as a key trading hub for the global food industry.

“Given the high demand for top-quality food and the steak-eating culture, this market clearly offers exciting potential for our iconic Scotch beef label with its world-leading quality assurance and global acclaim for taste,” he said.

“However, it is important to emphasise that it is very much still early days, we are still some way from any significant volume of product being exported to the UAE.”

William Gray, SDI’s head of food and drink, said: “We’ve been working hard with our colleagues in the Middle East to raise the profile of Scottish food and drink within the region, and welcome any developments which would open up this market to Scotch Beef producers.

“The UAE has established itself as a global destination for fine dining, and we’re thrilled to be able to introduce our guests to Scotch beef.”

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, told the diners last night: “Tonight we mark Scotch beef’s arrival in UAE and the interest from Middle Eastern buyers for Scottish product at Gulfood has been really significant. Our reputation is clearly continuing to grow.”