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Government backing British dairy industry to grab Chinese opportunity

By Mark Astley , 14-Nov-2012
Last updated on 14-Nov-2012 at 15:51 GMT

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is spearheading a campaign to help British dairy industry players increase their presence in the rapidly-expanding Chinese market.

UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson attended the Food and Hotel China exhibition in Shanghai this week – with plans to meet Chinese dairy companies, trade associations, industry experts, and retailers.

A number of British dairy firms will also be at the show, including Northern Ireland-based Linwoods Healthy Foods. The UK Food and Drink Exporters Association is also set to attend.

British-made tea, desserts, beer, meat and confectionary products will also be promoted at the show.

Supply Chinese demand

Chinese demand for dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt has exploded in recent year. According to Paterson, there is a window of opportunity while Chinese domestic production cannot meet the demand.

“From chocolate to cheddar, China’s population is getting a taste for dairy, and Britain’s world-class food industry can supply that demand,” said Paterson.

“I’ll be helping British businesses grab the opportunity with both hands, so our country competes and thrives in the global race,” he added.

Scottish reputation ‘piggy back’

Earlier this year, a Scottish government-backed study found that the country’s dairy industry was missing out on a clear opportunity to tap into the lucrative export market.

National Farmers Union of Scotland communications director Bob Carruth told DairyReporter.com at the time that Scotland’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”, he added.

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