Gulfood 2010, the Middle East's largest food and beverage industry trade show, was held recently in Dubai. This year's theme of "Bigger, Better, Business" is particularly applicable to U.S. beef, as a record 18 suppliers are on hand to exhibit products. Gulfood 2010 has been billed as the largest exhibition in this event's 23-year history, with more than 45,000 industry professionals expected to be in attendance over four days (Feb. 21 to 24).
The Middle East has long been a mainstay for U.S. beef variety meat, but interest in U.S. muscle cuts is exploding--especially in Egypt. In 2009, beef muscle cut exports to Egypt increased by more than 600 percent in volume (to 14,277 metric tons or 31.48 million pounds) and nearly 500 percent in value (to $23.5 million) over the previous year. For the region as a whole, muscle cut exports doubled in volume and increased by nearly one-third in value over 2008. Despite a sluggish global market for variety meat, combined U.S. beef/beef variety meat exports to the Middle East achieved seven percent growth in volume in 2009 while remaining steady in value.
"Beef supplies from South America are becoming more restricted and their prices--especially Brazil's--have recently been on the rise," says John Brook, U.S. Meat Export Federation regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. "So we're seeing increasing opportunities for U.S. rounds and even a growing demand for forequarter cuts."
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