Scotland’s dairy industry is missing out on a clear opportunity to tap into lucrative export markets, a Scottish government-backed report has claimed.
The interim report, which has also received input from the Scottish Development International (SDI), Scotland Food & Dairy, Dairy UK and the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), claims there is a lucrative export opportunity that exists for dairy products of the standard produced in Scotland.
Significant investment of time and money are first required, the report added - particularly in areas of brand development and marketing.
Once completed, the report will be shared with Scottish dairy supply chain players in the hope of moulding the development of a strong, internationally-recognised Scottish dairy brand.
NFUS communications director Bob Carruth told DairyReporter.com that the country’s dairy industry could 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”, Carruth added.
“There is potential here,” he said. “Look at the reputation of Scottish salmon, beef and whiskey - they are recognised worldwide as a quality product. There is an opportunity here for the Scottish dairy industry to piggy back on the Scotch name.”
“The dairy industry will, of course, always struggle to be as successful as whiskey.”
“It would have to take small steps and it would be a while before Scottish dairy products reached the same export level as salmon or beef for instance.”
The report cites the export success of the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) as a model for the Scottish dairy industry to build on.
The Dublin-based co-operative, which owns the internationally-recognised Kerrygold dairy brand, exports its products to more than 80 countries.
“I think it comes from their work with developing Kerry Gold butter – being able to pick up a dairy product and build up its reputation through marketing,” said Carruth.
Scoping export markets
Once completed, the report will be shared amongst producers, processors and other dairy supply chain stakeholders.
“We will say to them, ‘look, the opportunities are here’, point out where they need to go and what they need to develop,” said Carruth, adding that implementing the findings of the report is likely to take around two or three years.
“First we need to look into the development of products and marketing as well as at where these export opportunities lie.”
Carruth added that a delegation, including representatives from the Scottish dairy industry, is set to visit China later this year.
“This will be the start of a process of scoping out the international export market.”