Australia promotes ‘clean and green’

Australia's agricultural producers hope that a reputation for healthy produce will help them make an impact at this month's Gulfood exhibition.

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By  David Ingham Published  February 16, 2005

The Australian Trade Commission hopes that a reputation for clean, healthy produce will help the country’s food producers win more business in the GCC. The government agency has organised a major presence at this month’s Gulfood 2005 exhibition (www.gulfood.com) in an effort to ram home its message, with at least 35 companies set to grace a dedicated country pavilion. “The Middle East is one of the major destinations for Australian products, including food and beverage,” says Moin Anwar, senior business development manager, Australian Trade Commission. With its wide open spaces, Australia is a major producer and exporter of almost all types of food & beverage products. In an age of bird flu and BSE, the key message it wants to put across to distributors and retailers is what it sees as the natural, healthy nature of its produce. “Australia’s image of clean and green is well received in retail and foodservice sectors in the Middle East,” insists Anwar. “This image, and a rapidly growing market looking at more Australian quality products, has brought Australian suppliers back to Gulfood 2005. This year will attract the largest ever participation from Australia.” The Australian dairy industry will look to make an impact by hosting an exclusive dinner at the Fairmont hotel. Two hundred invited guests will have the opportunity to experience the range of dairy products that are now produced in Australia. Although Australia produces only 2% of the world’s milk, it is in the top three dairy exporting nations, accounting for around 17% of the world’s dairy exports in recent years. Australia has been a major supplier of dairy products to the Middle East for more than half a century. In 2003, the country supplied more than 170,000 tonnes of dairy products to the region. Another area where Australia will be looking to make a mark is fresh food. Austparagus, for example, will be promoting Australian asparagus, with the aim of commencing regular shipments to the Middle East in the near future. “We see the Middle East as a developing market with good, long term growth potential for high quality, fresh products,” says Anthony Lucas, director, export sales, Austparagus. “We aim to contact a series of distributors and medium sized end users whose collective demand would justify a once weekly minimum volume shipment.” Another area where Australia sees itself as excelling is meat, particularly fresh beef. The country’s producers have been big beneficiaries of the UAE’s ban on US beef. One company specialising in the meat trade is Intanat, which will be promoting its grass-fed beef and lamb from Tasmania at Gulfood. “This is my first show in Dubai but I have been exporting Australian beef, lamb and seafood to Dubai for 12 months,” says Victoria Chick, managing director of Intanat. “We have supplied Tasmanian Natural beef and lamb to the JW Marriott Dubai since US beef was banned. The Marriott was looking for a point of difference, which was achieved by offering high quality natural products from Australia. I hope to increase our presence in the marketplace,” she adds. Gulfood 2005 takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre Complex on February 20-23.

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