U.S. Meat Export Federation officials concluded talks with food professionals at Gulfood, the Middle East’s largest food trade show.
Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and Chief Executive Officer, speaks to opportunities for United States beef in the region.
This year’s event showcased opportunities for United States beef exports, says Halstrom.
“Specifically to the Middle Eastern region, it’s primarily a combination of high-end cuts for food service,” Halstrom said. “There is a fast-casual segment, (which) has been emerging for some time now. (That’s) demand for ground beef, made from sub-primals like briskets and chucks. The primary markets would be the United Arab Emirates with Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Other markets within that immediate region, big for U.S. exporters, would be Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.”
U.S. Meat Export Federation officials enhance their focus on Saudi Arabia, an export market which offers great potential. Market restrictions currently hinder access to the country, which shows increasing demand in the foodservice sector.
“Saudi Arabia would be the largest target market in the region, and we have access issues we’re trying to work through,” Halstrom said. “We’re working with the government. Under Secretary for Trade Ted McKinney was at Gulfood. We had meetings with him and pointed out that we needed to have a focus on improving access for U.S. beef in Saudi Arabia. Hopefully we can see gains there because there’s a lot of interest from our exporters to increase business in Saudi Arabia.”
U.S. Meat Export Federation staff based in Saudi Arabia indicate modernations, such as allowing women to drive and go out in public, have benefitted the food service sector.