WITH the meat trade to Japan opening up following its recent tariff-free status, Quality Meat Scotland is to showcase Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI at Foodex Japan, Asia's largest exhibition dedicated to food and drink, being held in Tokyo this coming week.

With more than 3500 exhibitors and 85,000 buyers from food service, distribution and trading companies across the globe, it's an important staging post for post-Brexit and samples of top-quality Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb will be presented to potential buyers and influencers, with particular emphasis on promoting the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status of the products.

Tom Gibson, QMS' head of market development, who is attending the show with CEO Alan Clarke and chairman, Kate Rowell, said that after the recent lifting of the trade ban in January, it was a great opportunity to showcase the Scotch name to Japanese buyers, over and above our national drink, with which they are very familiar.

“Japan is a major importer of beef and its demand for lamb there is increasing. It is vitally important, therefore, that we attend shows such as Foodex to tap into the Japanese market which is potentially worth £130m to the UK over the next five years,” said Mr Gibson.

QMS will be joined on the trade mission by representatives of Scottish meat exporters who will be introduced to Japanese meat importers at a business reception at the British Ambassador’s residence. The presence at Foodex is being funded by the £2m fund of AHDB red meat levies ring-fenced for collaborative projects between AHDB, HCC and QMS.

However, it won't all be one-way traffic. This week, at the Japanese Consul General, Nozomu Takaoka's residence in Edinbugh, key chefs and butchers were given notice that under the tariff-free arrangement with the EU, it plans to export high quality wagyu beef into the UK.

At £370 per kg for a typical A5-rated pure-bred wagyu ribeye, it won't be a massive tonnage, but would give well-heeled consumers a definitely different meat eating experience, he said.