Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Gulfood 2013 - Highlighting opportunities for lamb exports to the Middle East

Developing new export markets has been a key part of EBLEX’s strategy since 2010, leading to market access to more than 60 non-EU countries for sheep meat, helping reduce the risk posed by fluctuating European demand.

Capitalising on opportunities that exist in the Middle East came into sharp focus this week during the Gulfood food and hospitality show at the Dubai World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The annual show hosted more than 4,000 exhibitors from 110 countries and showcased wonderfully diverse products – from energy drinks and sweets in one aisle to livestock in the next. It also enabled EBLEX, with support from exporters who joined us on stand, to showcase the export opportunities for lamb to the Middle East, to build on existing business links and develop new ones.

With visitors and exhibitors from around the globe, the event was incredibly busy and while EBLEX’s stand was by no means the biggest, it certainly proved to be a hive of activity. Interest in what we have to offer was strong and, with the support of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Her Majesty’s consul general Edward Hobart, export manager Jean-Pierre Garnier stressed the future for potential exports to the region to Food & Farming Minister David Heath MP when visited our stand on day one of the show.

Mr Heath also attended a lamb dinner, coordinated by EBLEX and UKTI in collaboration with the consul general and top chef Gary Rhodes, to sample some of the produce on offer. Preceded by the unusual but delicious white tomato soup and salmon and followed by lemon meringue with a twist, the lamb dinner tantalised the taste buds and proved a big hit with Mr Heath and other guests including exporters and representatives from key supermarkets in the region.

We are currently allowed to export lamb and mutton to Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, but not to Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Gulfood has given us the opportunity to put our lamb in the spotlight and, after a busy and positive few days, will help us move towards fulfilling our full export potential in the Middle East.