British lamb and dairy businesses have headed to Saudi Arabia in a bid to meet growing consumer demand and build on export opportunities.

Exporters from both sectors have this week joined AHDB at the Saudi Food Show, which is currently under way in the country’s capital, Riyadh.

Although Saudi Arabia is not the UK’s primary market for lamb in the region, it has been recognised as a market with significant growth potential for exporters.

Research conducted by AHDB last year indicated that adapting to consumer purchasing behaviours could open up opportunities for British beef and lamb exporters in the Middle East.

The research examined consumer buying habits for red meat throughout the region, including Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Food Show is the kingdom’s premier event for food sourcing, offering UK lamb and dairy exporters the chance to connect with key buyers.

Dr Awal Fuseini, AHDB senior halal manager, stated that participating in the show provided an excellent opportunity for producers and exporters to engage with crucial industry buyers. He said: “Strong population growth, coupled with limited domestic production capacity and a high regard for our production standards presents an opportunity for quality British lamb to meet increasing consumer demand.

“A key factor in achieving this is understanding consumer trends to help enable our exporters align their products accordingly to satisfy what the market wants.”

Saudi Arabia is also a major importer of cheese, the most valuable segment in the dairy market, accounting for over 30% of total dairy expenditure.

It is the largest dairy consumer among the GCC countries, with high population growth and per capita consumption driving increased intake of milk and other dairy products.

“While the dairy market in Saudi Arabia is highly competitive, there are opportunities for UK exporters, with strong demand for cheese and butter,” explained Lucy Randolph, AHDB head of trade development.

“The Saudi Food Show will provide us with a platform to get in front of key buyers, showcase our world-class dairy produce and strengthen our foothold in this important market.”