Scotland’s finest salmon targets export growth in Middle East – Fishfarmer Magazine

Scotland’s finest salmon targets export growth in Middle East 17 February, 2012 –

Scotland’s premium salmon brand is to seek export growth in Middle East markets later this week, as Label Rouge Scottish Salmon takes centre stage in a major gastronomic competition hosted at Gulfood, the world’s largest food and hospitality show, in Dubai (19th – 22nd February).

Organised by the Emirates Culinary Guild and endorsed by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, the premium fish is to feature in the Seafood Class of the Emirates Salon Culinaire competition.

Open to professional chefs from the Middle East region, the Emirates Salon Culinaire is expected to attract an estimated 1,300 young chefs from around the region who will compete to become the culinary stars of the future. Up to 200 chefs are expected to compete in the seafood class of the competition.

In the first half of 2011, the value of salmon exports to the Middle East was up 46% year-on-year, rising from £3.45m to £5.05m.  Exports of all salmon products to the Middle East have increased year-on-year since 2008, increasing from 974 tonnes (2008) to 1,927 tonnes (2010). 2011 is forecast to have seen another rise as higher value, premium salmon has become increasingly popular in the UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Jordan.

Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of promotional body Scottish Quality Salmon, 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 levels of interest and take up from the extensive array of top quality hotels in the United Arab Emirates and around the region.

“Chefs are our strongest supporters and their understanding of the quality of our salmon is driving its success with diners in the Middle East,” he added.

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, will be in the UAE to attend Gulfood. He said: “Scotland is a natural larder and we provide some of the world’s freshest and healthiest foods – combined with a quality, authenticity and trustworthiness that few can match. Therefore I am delighted that Label Rouge Scottish Salmon will be the showpiece seafood product at Emirates Salon Culinaire, further underlining that top chefs and professionals view Scottish food and drink as some of the most delicious and premium produce in the world.

“The Middle East is a key target market for the Scottish food and drink industry, with demand increasing significantly from this region. We look forward to the many opportunities that Gulfood will bring and wish all those involved with Emirates Salon Culinaire every success in the competition.”

Although originally dedicated to the French market, Label Rouge Scottish Salmon has acquired international recognition for its superior quality and taste. Exports of the premium salmon have increased year-on-year since 2008, reaching a record 7,743 tonnes in 2010. The Middle East is a new emerging market for Label Rouge Scottish Salmon, with producers attending Gulfood for the first time last year.

Recognition by one of the world’s most highly-starred groups of culinary experts, the Master Chefs of France, has helped the popularity of Label Rouge Scottish Salmon. The superior fish was served to some 2,000 guests at a five-star event in Dubai in July 2011, organised by Christophe Prud’homme, Caterer Middle East Chef of the Year 2010 and a Master Chef of France.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. The accolade is awarded to products of superior quality and taste.

Label Rouge Scottish Salmon is the equivalent of 5% of the total Scottish salmon production; salmon is Scotland’s largest food export; the worldwide retail value of Scottish farmed salmon is over £1billion; over 55 countries import fresh Scottish salmon.

The United Arab Emirates alone saw the value of Scottish food and drink exports rise by 55% to £50.1 million in the first six months of 2011.

The year  2012 will be Scotland’s largest commitment to date at Gulfood, reflecting the growing importance of the Middle East market to the Scottish food and drink industry.  Scotland’s involvement in Gulfood extends to a dedicated Scottish pavilion hosted by Scottish Development International, on behalf of Scotland Food & Drink, which will include twelve exhibitors showcasing a range of internationally recognised goods and produce that are exported around the world.