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First Milk eyeing expanding Asian dairy markets

By Mark Astley , 21-Nov-2012

UK dairy processor First Milk has set its sights on the rapidly expanding market for dairy products in Asian countries such as China, after identifying demand for British cheeses.

First Milk was one of seventeen Scottish food and drink companies that visited China and Japan earlier this month in an effort to gain the interest of Chinese food buyers.

Senior figures from the Scotland-based dairy co-operative attended the Food & Hospitality China Show in Shanghai as part of a delegation led by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead.

According to First Milk senior executive director, Stephen Faulkner – who attending the show in Shanghai – the firm’s cheese products proved particularly popular.

“In contrast to everything we’ve been told here in the UK, we found that the Chinese people absolutely loved the flavour and texture of our cheddars, together with the spectacular images of the Scottish and Lake District landscapes. Cheddars were viewed as very nutritional and that’s why cheese consumption is growing in China,” said Faulkner.

Scottish dairy review

Earlier today - following his trip to China and Japan - Lochhead announced the launch of a review into the efficiency and competitiveness of the Scottish dairy supply chain.

Speaking at the launch of the review, Lochhead urged the industry to capitalise on Scotland’s global reputation for quality produce.

“Scotland’s dairy industry has huge potential yet, despite this, the sector has faced challenging times thanks – largely – to fluctuating market returns due to volatility in world commodity prices and outmoded contractual relationships,” said Lochhead.

“My recent trip to Asia confirmed Scotland’s global reputation for supplying quality produce – it’s vital that we explore every opportunity to capitalise on our natural assets and ensure our dairy sector is well placed to meet future challenges head on.”

Reputation “piggy back”

Earlier this year, National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) communications director Bob Carruth told DairyReporter.com that the Scottish dairy industry easily tap into the success of other Scottish exports.

The export success of products including Scottish salmon, beef and whiskey could provide the country’s dairy industry with a “piggy back” into emerging and established international markets.

Carruth made the comments following the publication of an interim reports into the export potential of Scottish dairy products.

The study, which received input from Scottish Development International (SDI), Scotland Food & Dairy, Dairy UK, and the NFUS, claimed that there is a lucrative export opportunity for dairy products of the standard produced in Scotland.

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