Can you give us a brief on MLA and its work in the Middle East?
MLA is the red meat industry service provider representing sheep, cattle and goat farmers and processors in Australia. We work for our stakeholders in Australia to better improve market access, and build brand awareness and recognition of Australia as a supplier of safe, clean, quality red meat.
How long have Australian red meat suppliers been attending Gulfood?
Australian red meat exporters have been attending Gulfood since its inception in 1995.
What are the benefits to your suppliers from attending the event?
Gulfood is a great opportunity for Australian exporters to connect with new and existing customers face-to-face, and showcase their products and capabilities.
How has the show improved from year to year?
Over the years, Gulfood has evolved into a truly international trade show, with attendance not only from potential customers in the Middle East but all parts of Europe, the sub-continent and Asia.
What do your suppliers have planned for this year’s event?
We have many Australian exporters that come every year, and they use Gulfood as a venue to meet with their current customers as well as developing new business. We also have some new attendees this year, so it will be a busy week for them as they meet a lot of new potential customers. Our exporters are always kept busy after Gulfood hours with planned networking events and customer dinners, which makes for a full week of activities.
How important is the Middle East market for your suppliers?
The Middle East market is very important to Australian exporters and the Australian red meat industry. It represents our largest market for Australian sheep meat, both lamb and mutton, and has been a growing market for high value beef for a number of years.
Has Australian red meat been embraced by the Middle East?
Yes, our lamb and mutton is very popular throughout all markets and in all sectors throughout the region, we have a long connection with supplying sheep and sheep meat into the region for over 50 years. Exports of Australian beef have also been growing, although our beef is at a higher price point then some of our competing nations’ bovine products, we are very well regarded in modern retail, and high end food service, for our eating quality as well as a consistent supply to the market.
How do you foresee the future of Australian red meat in the Middle East?
I see continued growth across the whole market, although some individual destinations have had recent challenges, as a whole we have been growing, with some countries significantly growing in the last year, particularly in fresh, chilled lamb by air freight.