Scots Meat Businesses Woo The Italians

UK - One of Italy’s top chefs, Adriano Cavagnini of the 5* Eden Hotel in Rome, is among a group of food experts currently visiting Scotland as part of the summer long series of inward missions organised by the red meat industry body Quality Meat Scotland.
calendar icon 19 July 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The idea behind the visits is to boost exports of Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb to Italy and other major European destinations.

Adriano Cavagnini joined fellow Italian chefs to see first hand why Scotland has a global reputation for producing some of the finest meat in the world.

The mission included a visit to a farm in the north east to see cattle raised in a natural environment, a meat cutting demonstration with top butcher Jonathan Honeyman and a gourmet tasting workshop featuring both beef and lamb with QMS Marketing Manager Laurent Vernet.

Speaking during the mission Mr Cavagnini said: “I have been immensely impressed with everything I have seen during the visit – from the quality of the cattle, to the standards in your processing plants and, of course, the superb taste of the final product.

“Scotland’s reputation for producing excellent beef and lamb is still strong in Italy but it was important for me to see for myself whether or not that status was justified before taking a decision on serving it to my customers.”

Laurent Vernet added: “The idea behind the inward mission programme is to offer some of the biggest names in the European food industry a chance to see first hand why we’re the best in the world at producing beef and lamb.

“Scotland’s producers have been primed to open up their farms so these influential buyers can see the stamp of our livestock, speak to our farmers about what they do, and make the connection between the rich and clean Scottish environment and the taste and quality of our meat.”

QMS is hosting visits by ten groups, from France, Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands.

They are visiting a number of farms from Aberdeenshire to the Borders speaking to Scottish red meat businesses that are already exporting into the continental market. Both Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status which has considerable cachet with European consumers.

Since the first beef left Scotland bound for Europe last May, following the end of the ten year ban on British beef exports, trade has picked up steadily reaching the £12 million pound mark last month. QMS has agents on the ground in France, Italy and Benelux working with Scottish companies to build sales to top restaurants and the high end retail sector.

Italy and France are the main customers for beef from Scotland, each buying 38% of all beef exports from Scotland. The Netherlands buys 10% and Belgium 7%.

Latest figures on the breakdown of Scottish food exports reveal that meat accounts for 17% of all exported food products. That figure is likely to increase following the resumption of trade for beef in addition to existing lamb sales.

At their peak in 1995, Scottish beef exports were worth £120 million a year, £150 million at today’s prices.

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