In its first major revision since 2006, the new strategy, which has been developed in collaboration with Scottish exporters outlines a three pronged approach to both supporting established markets and helping Scotland’s products gain a foothold in other areas in both Europe and beyond.
Jim McLaren, Chairman, QMS said: “The initial four target markets identified by QMS in 2006 have been very successful for the Scottish red meat industry. Awareness of our product in France, Italy, The Netherlands and Belgium amongst wholesalers and retailers is at the point where we can refocus our campaigns from helping develop market opportunities to now helping build consumer demand.
“We’ve overcome the initial challenge of establishing a network of retailers throughout the four countries who are selling and promoting Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb, and we can now move to a position similar to established home markets such as London, where we can focus on building a demand from consumers and the foodservice sector.”
In the quarter to September 2010 the industry has exported beef and lamb to the value of £18.4 million, 80% of which was to our current target markets.
The market in the four countries is now worth an estimated £44.7 million to the Scottish industry.
With this refocusing it gives QMS the opportunity to start work on breaking Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb into new markets, targeting the Nordic nations and Germany specifically.
These countries were identified primarily as there is already a small presence of mainly commodity product, with considerable potential to develop added-value markets for our premium Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb brands.
The new markets have been chosen because they are countries with relatively high disposable incomes and prosperity compared to other EU nations, they are net importers of beef and lamb and have a population of discerning consumers.
Mr McLaren said: “Consumers in the new markets we’ve identified tend to be well travelled, interested in ethical issues such as the environment and welfare and have a love of traditional foods; exactly the type of consumer to whom Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb appeal.
“Taking part in the Bocuse d’Or, which receives a great deal of media interest and television coverage in Scandinavia, was a great launch pad for our brands in those markets.
“With the winner coming from Norway in 2009 and Denmark in 2011 it shows that some of the world’s most influential gastronomy is coming from northern Europe and it’s a market where we see the opportunity to grow demand for our premium products.”
The strategy recommends a staged approach, initially investigating retail avenues that can be developed and then working to raise awareness of not only Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb, but also the reputation of Scotland as a land of food and drink.
Laurent Vernet, Marketing Manager with QMS said: “In moving into these markets we’ll be looking to collaborate with other Scottish Government agencies as well as continuing to seek European Union development funding to help drive the strategy.
“Our research shows that the PGI mark, which both Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb hold, has fairly low levels of recognition in the Nordic nations and Germany, and our plan to help develop a demand for our brand will also highlight the quality of product required to carry the PGI label.”
The longer term part of the strategy is to further develop eastern non-European markets, with a particular focus on the new affluent consumers in Russia and China.
Mr Vernet said: “We’ll be investigating opportunities to work with other British organisations to pool our efforts, as breaking into these markets is both logistically and politically difficult.
“Russia and China are large and growing markets, which present opportunities to position our premium brands as an aspirational item to increasingly affluent consumers.”