Summer Fancy Food Show 2016

Scottish dairy looks to US market as Brexit causes trade uncertainty

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland is hoping to expand its exports of cheese through the Scottish Dairy brand. Pic:© iStock/Fredex8
Scotland is hoping to expand its exports of cheese through the Scottish Dairy brand. Pic:© iStock/Fredex8

Related tags: United kingdom

American consumers can now buy a variety of Scottish dairy products that are united by a logo that says “made with 100% Scottish milk,” as the Scottish Dairy brand was launched at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.  

The Scottish Dairy brand is a government initiative with industry funding, according to business development manager, Roddy Wilde. The brand is meant to bring “the best cheese and butter manufacturers together to make it easier for buyers overseas and international markets to access a variety of Scottish dairy products.

“The consumer hasn’t really seen Scottish cheeses,”​ he said. 

“Right now, we are using the brand to approach international markets.”

Scottish Dairy brand, whose products are distributed by Atalanta to the US, include Connage Dunlop, Orkney Smoked Red and Mull of Kintyre Cheddars.

Importance of exports to UK economy

“[Scotland dairy companies] contribute to £100m ($133m) worth of dairy products exported annually from the UK,”​ Wilde said. 

“We’re also hoping to extend our dairy products to other markets, such as Canada, some European and Asian markets.”

Wilde said the brand hopes to export 40% to 50% of its products to Europe, 40% to North America and the rest to Asia in the future.

Brexit issues

In spite of the UK voting by a narrow margin to leave the EU, voters in Scotland overwhelmingly backed remaining in Europe. This could trigger another independence referendum as Scotland looks to leave the UK.

As a “definitely ‘remain’ voter,”​ Wilde hopes Scotland will hold an independence referendum, and therefore potentially stay in the EU, within two years.

However, Wilde told DairyReporter that while Scotland is still in the UK, and negotiations on leaving the EU could take up to two years from when Article 50 is invoked,  it is “very difficult”​ to say if the Scottish Dairy brand would adjust its export amount to Europe once the UK officially exits the EU.

“It’s totally guess work at this stage, but given that we’re an importer of European produce, I think there would be more pressure on Europe,”​ he added, “because they [Europe] export more to us than we export to them, despite the fact that we’re hoping to grow quite a lot.”

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