Smoking hot performance as exports soar –

Smoking hot performance as exports soar Published:  06 February, 2012

Richard Lochhead

Scotland has seen a massive 55 per cent rise in food and drink exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The latest figures for the first two quarters of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010 also show the Middle East is now the largest market for smoked salmon outside the EU with an increase of 48 per cent – to a value of £2.5 million – and confirms the emerging importance of the region to Scotland.

Scotland’s Food and Drink Secretary Richard Lochhead highlighted the figures ahead of Gulfood, one of the world’s largest food and hospitality shows held in Dubai, UAE from 19 – 22 February 2012.  Mr Lochhead will be attending the exhibition, which for the fourth year will boast a Scottish pavilion hosted by Scottish Development International (SDI).  The pavilion will include 12 exhibitors showcasing a range of internationally recognised Scottish foods and produce that are exported around the world.

The statistics demonstrate continued growth after UAE emerged in 2010 as the second fastest growing market for Scottish food and drink, with growth of 114 per cent.  They also show that Scotland Food and Drink and SDI’s partnership overseas to deliver the industry strategy is making good progress.

Key export figures from Scotland to UAE are:* Food and drink exports rose by 55 per cent to £50.1 million – for the first two quarters of 2011 compared to 2010. This compares to an increase of 29 per cent in global food and drink exports from Scotland, from £1.813 billion to £2.353 billion.* Whisky exports to UAE rose by 29 per cent to £42 million for the first two quarters of 2011, up from £32.5 million in the same period of 2010.  Again, this was above the rate of growth in total global whisky exports, which increased by 22 per cent over the same period.

Key salmon export figures from Scotland to Middle East are:* The value of all salmon exports (fresh, frozen and smoked) has increased from £3.45 million to £5.05 million (January – June 2011), up 46 per cent compared with the same period the previous year.* Salmon exports to the Middle East increased from 740 tonnes (January – June 2010) to 798 tonnes (gutted weight, January – June 2011) – up 7.8 per cent.* During the first six months of 2011 exports of fresh salmon have remained consistent at just over 500 tonnes, but smoked salmon has increased from 174 tonnes to 257 tonnes – up 48 per cent.

Mr Lochhead said: “These outstanding figures for the Middle East show that the region is now a key target market with huge potential value to the Scottish food and beverage industry.  Not only is demand increasing significantly for Scottish goods and produce in this part of the world, but we are also seeing significant interest from regional investors into the sector.  Smoked salmon in particular is performing spectacularly well, cementing salmon’s position as Scotland’s largest food export.

“Scotland is a natural larder, with food and drink being one of our greatest assets.  From salmon, to Scotch Beef, seafood and iconic beverages to its home-grown oats and soft fruits we have established an international reputation for producing competitive premium brands.  Scotland has some of the world’s freshest and healthiest foods combined with a quality, authenticity and trustworthiness that few can match.

“I am looking forward to the many opportunities that Gulfood will bring for Scotland and our food and drink companies who are attending the event and to be able to further strengthen links between the two nations following the First Minister’s recent visits.”

Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of promotional body Scottish Quality Salmon and the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said: “We are delighted to be returning to one of the world’s most exciting cities. Dubai is internationally recognised as a five-star destination that understands the value and importance of a quality experience. Food is an important part of this equation and Scottish salmon is increasingly attracting interest from top quality hotels in the UAE and around the region.  Chefs are our strongest supporters and their understanding of the quality of our salmon is driving the success with Middle East diners.”

Ewen Cameron, international senior manager for food and drink at SDI, said: “The Middle East offers huge potential for Scottish companies. It remains a core market for Scottish salmon, seafood, beverages and grocery products – targeting both the high-end retail and food service sectors.

“Gulfood is one of the key events in our international calendar, providing a global stage for home-grown businesses looking to build their overseas markets. This year 14 companies will represent the finest of Scottish produce, including AG Barr, Youngs Seafood and Nairns Oatcakes. Gulfood can bring significant benefits for companies – for example as a direct result of showcasing its produce last year, Taste of Arran is now supplying cheeses to the Jumeirah hotel group.

“SDI is committed to working collaboratively with key partners in the food and drink industry to help Scottish companies trade more effectively in the Middle East. By doing so, we can help businesses increase turnover, create new jobs and realise their ambitious growth plans – improving the long-term future of Scotland’s economy.”

Established in 1987, Gulfood is the world’s largest food and hospitality show. It is a strategic platform for buyers and sellers to conduct direct business face to face and is a showcase for manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers from around the world, representing all of the key sectors within the food and hospitality trade.  2012 sees the 17th edition of the event.

At the 2012 conference organisers expect 65,000 trade visitors from 152 countries, with exhibitors from more than 83 countries, taking a record 107 international pavilions.

In 2011 Gulfood attracted 62,024 trade attendees, up 12 per cent on 2010, with 800 companies represented from 80 countries. 57 per cent visitors were from outside the UAE, coming from 142 countries. Of these 28 per cent were a CEO, director or partner of the company they represented.

SDI has 12 Scottish companies exhibiting at this years event: A.G. Barr PLC, Dean’s of Huntly Ltd, Gourmet’s Choice Ltd, Highland Spring Group, Meridian Salmon Group, Nairn’s Oatcakes Ltd, Safetray Products Ltd, St James Smokehouse (Scotland) Ltd, Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, Sephra, A Taste of Arran, Young’s Seafood Ltd.

In addition, Mackie’s of Scotland, Macphie of Glenbervie, Walkers Shortbread, The Highland Chocolatier and Lossie Seafoods will be visiting the exhibition.

The companies exhibiting either already trade in the region and are looking to increase their customer base in the Gulf, or companies have not done business in the region before and are looking to enter the market. Aims include expanding the range of products they export into the region, build on existing contacts and attract new customers, build brand awareness and hold buyer meetings.

Scottish salmon key facts:* The main export markets for salmon in the Middle East are the UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and Afghanistan;* Salmon is Scotland’s largest food export and worldwide retail value of is over £1 billion;* Over 55 countries import fresh Scottish farmed salmon;* Scottish salmon was named ‘best farmed salmon in the world’ in a poll of international seafood buyers from leading retail and food service companies (May 2011);* Scottish farmed salmon became the first non-French product and the first fish to obtain the prestigious French government’s Label Rouge mark of distinction in 1992.