New Zealand red meat was on show in the Middle East in February.
Silver Fern Farms, ANZCO Foods and Firstlight Foods were showing their product ranges amongst the 13 exhibitors on the two-storey New Zealand Pavilion at Gulfood 2016, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the pavilion incorporated a coffee counter and live cooking demonstrations.
The region is important for the red meat sector. Figures from Statistics NZ show that New Zealand exports of red meat, including edible offal, to countries covered by countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were worth $268 million in the year to end December 2015. Just under two-thirds of this came from lamb, around 29 percent beef and just over three percent mutton.
Saudi Arabia is the top and growing market in the region for New Zealand sheepmeat and beef, according to further MIA analysis for the period. Ranked at number five globally in volume terms, the value of sheepmeat exports to the country rose by 13 percent, over the previous year, to $107.8 million. Jordan also saw a 12 percent value growth. Meanwhile, the value of beef exports to Saudi Arabia increased by 32 percent increase to $37 million.
Silver Fern Farms is primarily targeting restaurants and chefs seeking premium beef and lamb products in the region. Gulfood was a good opportunity to showcase its Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Reserve Beef range, says market manager Katie King.
“Reserve is a relatively new product for chefs in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and they were interested in the on-stand cooking demonstrations,” she reports, adding that the company found the approach useful as it gave the chefs a better appreciation for the quality of the product.
“We could also cover the EQ grading selection process, it’s grass-fed attributes and the New Zealand provenance story. Importers and restaurants are also looking for hormone-free product, which is a consumer-led trend.”
There was also interest in Silver Fern Farms’ product range from gourmet butcheries and small boutique food stores, says King.
ANZCO was showing its beef and lamb products, while Firslight’s UAE division concentrated on Wagyu beef and venison.
Although negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded in 2009, the agreement has yet to be signed and ratified.