The producer launched its Premier Selection Reserve beef and Silere Alpine Origin Merino lamb ranges in Doha’s InterContinental Hotel last week. Both products are being distributed by the Gulf Centre for Foodstuffs, and will be available in selected four- and five-star hotels, along with Carrefour supermarkets.
Premium channels only
“We’ll be looking at top restaurants, and also through the retail channel, but only with selected partners. We’ll be looking at putting the products into selected stores, where we think there’s demand for a premium product,” said Katie King, Middle East market manager for Silver Fern Farms.
She also said the new meat ranges would be available in Saudi Arabia next month: “We’ll be launching into Saudi Arabia with our partner Al Munajem. We’ve been supplying Saudi Arabia for a long time, mainly with frozen products – but we feel there’s room for a premium product within that market, with the big and changing population.”
Silver Fern is currently limiting its distribution of the new premium product ranges to markets where it feels there is sufficient demand and maturity, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia joining Dubai, where the Reserve and Silere products launched last year. According to King, demand in all markets tends to be higher for beef, but the Silere range is designed to boost lamb’s visibility.
“The Silere product aims to be a very high-end lamb alternative for chefs who are looking for high-end products for their menus. The Silere is Marino, a particular type of lamb that lives in the high country of New Zealand. Because of that, the lambs walk about 5km a day, so they have very lean meat – chefs often say there’s a ‘silky’ taste to it, finely grained,” said King.
Demand for natural products
While the firm, originally called PPCS, but rebranding to Silver Fern Farms in 2008, has been supplying fresh and frozen meat products to the Middle East for many years, the launch of the new Reserve and Silere ranges marks a new foray into the higher end of the market.
“We just did a big market research project last year, and from that we’re seeing more and more that people are looking for products that are pure, grass-fed, from a natural source,” King said.
“They want to know more about the process – what happens before it arrives at the supermarket, or before it arrives on a plate in a restaurant, what processes did that animal go through. This covers everything from Halal, to how the animal was treated, in terms of animal welfare, and how it was raised – grass-fed or grain-fed, free-range, and so on,” she added.