A party of seventeen Scottish food and drink companies including First Milk visited Japan and China last week (10 - 17 November).
Richard Lochhead, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment in the Scottish Government, led the delegation, which was organised by Scottish Development International and Scotland Food & Drink. Meetings and events were held in Tokyo and Shanghai with key potential customers, from supermarkets to top hotels.
Stephen Faulkner, senior executive director at First Milk who was on the trip commented:
"One of the highlights of the trip for me was at the Food & Hospitality China Show in Shanghai. The show was attended by over 30,000 people, including some of most influential food buyers and chefs in Asia.
"We didn't want the trip to be just a fact-finding mission, so we booked a First Milk trade stand at the show, employed some Mandarin speakers on the ground, and sampled a number of our cheddars including Lake District, Mull of Kintyre, Isle of Arran and Dairy Maniacs cheddar stix.
"In contrast to everything we've been told here in the UK, we found that the Chinese people absolutely loved the flavour and texture of our cheddars, together with the spectacular images of the Scottish and Lake District landscapes. Cheddars were viewed as very nutritional and that's why cheese consumption is growing in China.
"I have to pay credit to Richard Lochhead and his team for an extremely well-organised trip. We're now in the process of following up with all the trade contacts we met in Asia in order to take advantage of this great opportunity to broaden our customer base."