Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) recently announced that the demand and consumption of Australian beef per month has nearly doubled in the United Arab Emirates. One year ago, about 10 to 12 tonnes of Australian beef was consumed per month but the amount has now shot up to about 20 tonnes per month, in a market that consumes about a 100 tonnes of beef per month.
Australian beef is recognised for its premium cuts and is well known in the region for being 100% Halal, rich in flavour and of the highest quality. It is a commitment to offering a top quality product that the MLA has worked very hard toward and has gone a long way in making Australian beef the ingredient of choice for both chefs and their patrons in most of the top fine dining and steak establishments.
Ian Ross, Regional Manager of Meat & Livestock Australia Limited (MLA) had the following to add about the rise in demand for Australian beef: “Among the many factors that have helped in increasing the demand for Australian beef is the increase of sophistication in society. People in the UAE are more conscious about fine dining and all the elements that go with it. Everyone is more aware of healthy food, of what to order and how to order it, what food complements what beverage and much more. And everyone also knows that good beef means Australian beef. ”
Other factors working to the advantage of Australian beef products in the UAE over the past two years include the fact that the UAE has always been a very attractive meat importer for companies worldwide. The reasons for which are many. It has high disposable incomes, liberal trade policies, zero or low import duties and limited local production of meat. Moreover, the general prosperity in the UAE has also meant that eating out is fast growing as a trend due to the higher incomes and increasing numbers of working women. Another important and very visible reason is also the huge construction boom. A host of international hotel chains have opened their doors across the UAE and more specifically in Dubai, the new business hub of the region. With each new hotel offering a well heeled business and leisure clientele ‘a never before’ fine dining experience, the demand for quality meat has also exponentially shot through the roof.
This growth in demand is best expressed by Australian meat exporter Hamish Mckerrow of Australian Quality Plus: “We export to the UAE foodservice market approximately 220 tonnes of high quality beef per year, but that is double of what we were exporting just two years back. Currently we export 120 to 150 day grain fed beef and Certified Australian Angus Beef from southern Australia as well as a Long Grain-Fed and Wagyu beef from the Darling Downs region in South East Queensland. Honestly, who would have said two years back that we would be serving Wagyu in most parts of the Middle East today.” On being asked how much Australian beef he would export in a week or a year, he said: “As far as the fine dining and the steakhouse dining is concerned, we export on average about 25 – 30 tonnes a month to the UAE and broader Middle East market”.
As the United Arab Emirates establishes its presence on the global leisure and business map, it can only be expected that the demand for fine dining and a good steakhouse experience will keep growing. This is a scenario that undoubtedly augurs well for Australian beef and an even higher growth in sales is expected in the future.