Friday, 24 April 2015

Quenching the global appetite for beef and lamb

In November 2013 then chief executive of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), Crispin Simon, said that “doing business overseas is vital to the growth of UK companies of all sectors and sizes.” His words illustrated just how the world is changing as life becomes ‘globalised’. As a result, more UK industries are going further to grow their exports and are embracing large and small high-growth markets.

Full year stats released by EBLEX show that small markets, in particular, have played a vital role in driving volume growth of beef exports.  In 2014 volumes of beef exported grew by six per cent, an increase of more than 6,000 tonnes.  Markets where homegrown beef performed particularly well included Denmark, which saw an increase of 23 per cent, and Greece, where exports were up fourfold. Shipments to Sweden also saw a 66 per cent increase on the year, while Portugal took 43 per cent more product in 2014 than 2013.

The demand for domestic product hasn't been limited to European countries. In recent years there has been a growing appetite for domestically produced beef and lamb within the West African market. As the people of this region experience greater income growth and the population rises, the market has become more significant. Following the success of a trade mission to a number of West African countries in 2013, EBLEX are investigating further export opportunities within the area.

Identifying and cultivating these overseas market opportunities helps to raise the profile of quality beef and lamb produced in this country. EBLEX continues to work on our international profile as a world leader in the export of red meat, through increasing dynamic partnerships with all stakeholders in the supply chain.

Trade shows are an ideal vehicle to support raising awareness of the industry abroad. They are a vital part of creating and maintaining working relationships that lead to greater global exports and are a cost effective way for exporters to boost international demand. 

Bringing exporter together with importer is a cornerstone of EBLEX’s export strategy, and is often facilitated on exhibition stands at trade shows across the globe, with the EBLEX stand often used as a as a meeting area to help strengthen existing relationships and form new ones.  

Having a wide ranging network of contacts is imperative for exporters. Each potential market has its own cultural and language barriers, often meaning that working internationally requires the need to think locally. EBLEX’s export team, work with teams of local experts, combining their local skills and knowledge with international experience. Local experts can offer insight into market development activity, which encompasses market research, PR and consumer education, which seeks to stimulate demand.

In addition to utilising the expertise of local experts, identifying and accessing high-growth markets is of paramount importance to EBLEX’s export strategy. A number of these markets can be found in Asia. To support developments in these markets, EBLEX will this year have a presence at number of shows in the region. One example is SIAL, in China, which next month, is expected see over 50,000 visitors and major Asian market players from retail, catering and food services attend. 

May will also see HOFEX in Hong Kong, with over 48 countries exhibiting products from across the food and beverage industry, including an EBLEX stand. The trade shows in the Far East create the ideal opportunity to bring together supply and demand to sharpen the profile of domestic beef and lamb, whilst also developing partnerships with stakeholders across the international supply chain.

Whilst EBLEX is committed to increasing the profile for beef and lamb overseas, maintaining and growing the appetite for product at home is always top of the agenda. Last month EBLEX was the International Food and Drink exhibition (IFE), showcasing the high quality product available to over 30,000 visitors in London. Whilst guests to the stand came from all corners of the globe, it was also an ideal opportunity to highlight the versatility of beef and lamb to a domestic audience.


If you wish to work with the EBLEX export team to increase profitability then please contact jonathan.eckley@ahdb.org.uk