Welsh meat processors will join promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) at the world’s largest annual trade fair this month, in a bid to resume excellent progress on promoting PGI Welsh Lamb in the Middle East region.
Gulfood, which takes place in the Dubai World Trade Centre between 13-17 February, is going ahead due to the easing of Covid travel restrictions, with representatives of importers, retailers and foodservice operators from across the region looking for top food and drink products.
Welsh Lamb has been established in the United Arab Emirates for a decade, and the Middle East has been identified as a strategic priority by HCC and the wider Welsh Lamb sector. The meat’s excellent reputation helped to fuel a growth in the value of annual exports from £2.5m to £14.7m – nearly 500% – in the two years before the Covid pandemic hit.
With restrictions now easing, the Gulfood trade show is central to a renewed investment in the region to build trade which would benefit Welsh sheep farmers and the processing sector.
“The major growth in Welsh Lamb exports to countries such as the UAE, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait that we saw between 2017 and 2019 was a result of consistent marketing and investment by HCC with the support of processors and the Welsh Government,” said HCC Market Development Manager Rhys Llywelyn.
“Inevitably, the pandemic interrupted trade and hit the region’s hotels and restaurants” he added, “but we have an opportunity now to resume this impressive growth, and Gulfood trade fair will be a key element to that.”
HCC’s stand at Gulfood will include a cooking station where samples of Welsh Lamb will be prepared for potential customers to taste.
Rhys Llywelyn added that the trade show is part of a wider marketing investment in the region.
“In the past few months, we’ve been mounting an advertising campaign targeting the hospitality sector,” he said, “and we’re also working with partners in government on some special promotional events around St David’s Day.”
Welsh Lamb will be featured in events at the British Embassy and the Dubai Expo – a world showcase being held until the end of March 2022, having been postponed from 2020, including Welsh ‘Lambassador’ chef Chris Roberts hosting a barbecue on the eve of St David’s Day.