Global perspective... with IMTA

Whether you have been to SIAL or not, the very nature of this exhibition makes us all realise just how international all our businesses have become.

The re-opening of export markets earlier this year and fresh profitable opportunities for British firms in Europe will have been the theme song of many as they walked the aisles of this great show. Food is becoming even more sophisticated in its presentation and manufacture - and the supply lines can be increasingly complex. Fortunately, we don't all want the same items and demand varies around the EU.

Progressive marketors of primary meats realise that certain cuts and qualities will make better prices for their producers if demand and geographic flexibility are fully exploited.

As we export more beef to take advantage of this, so we will need to import more to maintain supply levels in the UK.

Some folk become emotional on the subject and talk about "sucking in more cheap imports" threatening supermarkets if they even consider selling imported beef. The fact is that imports meet a need - and sometimes are more suitable for certain uses. For instance German steak houses are very popular and they rely largely on a regular supply of quality southern hemisphere beef.

No doubt SIAL has provided more evidence of demands for product integrity. 'Disease-free'-status is sought by every exporting country. Our own image has been tarnished in recent years - but now that's passed and we too have the halo!