Export Opportunities Exist for Scottish Dairy

SCOTLAND, UK - A clear opportunity exists for the Scottish dairy industry to tap into valuable export markets according to an interim report presented to the National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scottish dairy strategy working group.
calendar icon 10 August 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

The paper, prepared for the group by Scottish Development International - Scottish Enterprise’s international arm - and Scotland Food & Drink, states that there is a growing world dairy market for dairy products, with good provenance, of the type that Scotland can produce. Branding, market research and investment are required but opportunities for Scottish dairy produce exist in niche, value added and premium markets. The report cites the export success of the Irish Dairy Board as a model that merits further examination.

It concludes that investing in the development of value added products and markets will play an important part in revenue generation; building value into the Scottish dairy supply chain, increasing milk producers’ confidence in the industry and reducing milk processors’ current reliance on domestic giant retailers.

Following the meeting, further work on the interim report will now be undertaken before final publication. The group – which includes representatives from the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International (SDI), Scotland Food & Drink, Dairy UK and NFU Scotland – will then share the report with the Scottish dairy supply chain. The vision is to create a strong Scottish brand for milk and dairy products that makes inroads into the European and global dairy market.

NFU Scotland Vice President, Allan Bowie said: “Huge potential exists in world markets for dairy. While companies have started to tap into demand for commodity dairy products, scope is there for adding value and developing the Scottish brand. Scottish dairy farmers will look at the success of whisky, salmon and beef in selling the Scottish story and believe that our dairy produce can make it into the same premier league. That requires all parties to buy into this report and start looking seriously at the opportunities overseas.

“In the same way that we are asking dairy farmers to look at routes to better collaboration through the umbrella of Dairy Farmers Together, there is the potential for parts of the Scottish dairy supply chain to pull together to realise the potential that exists in export markets.”

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “This interim report confirms that potentially lucrative export opportunities exist for the Scottish dairy sector. Our task now is to ensure we take advantage of our burgeoning international reputation as a land of food and drink to fully exploit these opportunities.

“By working together our salmon industry has shown what can be achieved in a short period of time and I hope that the dairy sector can work with SDI to mirror that level of success in overseas markets.”

Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive, James Withers said: “With a foundation of efficient producers and world class production, Scotland is superbly placed to serve a growing global market for dairy products. The interim work we’ve done so far emphasises this and starts to develop our roadmap to grow the Scottish industry’s presence on the world stage.

“The formula of premium products and strong provenance is a winning one for the nation’s other food and drinks sectors. The time is right for the dairy industry in this country to move in the same direction and I believe a collaboration between industry and government can make it happen.”

Dairy UK’s Scottish Director, Kirk Hunter said: “SDI’s research confirms that consumers around the world are increasing their demand for dairy products. If we can get our act together there are exciting opportunities for Scotland’s dairy industry to capitalise on these expanding markets.

“Dairy is already one of the major exporting sectors within Scotland’s food and drink sector. This is a solid platform for us to build on. We now need to move forward quickly, collaborate effectively within the supply chain and be willing to learn from the successes of other Scottish food and drink industries in export markets.”

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