Key products promoted in Canada after export ban lifted.
The quality of Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb has been the focus of key discussions in Canada today with Food Secretary Richard Lochhead promoting Scottish produce in advance of exports resuming within the next few weeks.
Following the recent announcement that the ban on red meat imports from Europe had been lifted, Mr Lochhead and QMS Chair Jim McLaren met with Canadian retailers to highlight the quality, taste and international reputation of Scottish red meat and encourage them to consider ordering Scotch.
Scotch Lamb PGI will also be the star of the show in a delicious menu cooked up by Grand Chef Jerome Ferrer at a showcase event for around 25 influential Canadian chefs.
Mr Lochhead said:
"The Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb labels are known as a true stamp of quality with a reputation that reaches far beyond Scotland. It was great news that the export ban to Canada was lifted and even better news that exports are expected to resume within the next few weeks in Scotland's Year of Food and Drink.
"Getting our red meat back on shelves in Canada is massively important for the industry and a great opportunity to promote our products with around 14 per cent of Canadians claiming Scottish ethnicity we have a powerful diaspora market. That's why I've been speaking with retailers and chefs today to encourage them to order Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb.
"Showcasing the quality and taste of Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef is the best way to sell their benefits and seeing it on the menu at our showcase event was a huge milestone. Promoting our produce in this way will ensure we make the most of the new opportunities offered by the re-opening of the Canadian market.
"I am looking forward to holding high level discussions later this week in Washington to accelerate access for Scottish red meat to the important US market"
Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, said:
There is a genuine appetite for top quality grass-fed hormone-free beef and lamb in both Canada and the USA. This, coupled with Scotland's valuable historic and cultural links with both countries, augers well for the future. Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI share the coveted European Protected Geographic Indication (PGI status) which reflects the unique provenance and quality of these products. The farming methods behind the production of Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb are very much a part of our Scottish landscape and heritage and I believe the quality of the meat we produce, coupled with the great environmental and welfare story behind the brands, places Scotland in a very strong position to develop these markets."
Mr Lochhead is in North America for a six day series of meetings with key retailers, importers and Government Ministers in Canada and the USA to support the work of the industry in achieving the objectives set out in the Scottish Food & Drink Export Plan. He will be accompanied for parts of the visit by Jim McLaren, Chair of Quality Meat Scotland, James Macsween of Macsween of Edinburgh, Vice-President of National Farmers' Union Scotland Rob Livesey, and George Milne from the National Sheep Association.
The engagements are designed to promote Scottish food and drink and build on the recent success which has seen exports to the USA increase by 44 per cent - from £450 million in 2007 compared to £799.9 million in 2014 and a 39 per cent increase in exports to Canada - from £49.4 million in 2007 compared to £80.9 million in 2014
2015 is Scotland's Year of Food and Drink, which aims to celebrate Scotland's fantastic natural larder, Scottish provenance and further enhance the country's reputation as a Land of Food and Drink. It is intended that the legacy of the year will encourage the people of Scotland, and visitors, to enjoy the quality produce that is available to them on their doorstep, while also raising awareness within industry sectors, continuing the strong working relationships established across the sector beyond 2015.
The Export Plan for Scotland's food & drink industry was developed by the Scotland Food & Drink Export Partnership which comprises Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Development International, Quality Meat Scotland, Seafood Scotland, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and Scottish Bakers, with significant financial support from the Scottish Government. The plan can be viewed at www.scotlandfoodanddrink.org/media/66630/export-strategy-0314.pdf or by clicking on the image below.