Italian catering outlets, particularly high-class restaurants, are keen to use Scotch beef once it is available in reasonable quantities, according to Milan-based meat trader Giacinto Fusetti.

Speaking at a seminar at last week’s Scottish Winter Fair, Edinburgh, Mr Fusetti said the Aberdeen Angus breed and brand were well-known among high-level caterers and they were asking for Aberdeen Angus beef again.

“There is a huge future for the Angus brand in Italy, but the product must be identifiable and protected from fraud and copying,” he said.

However, most supermarkets were unwilling to stock UK beef, he added.

“Once the export ban is lifted then they may become more interested, but the trade will take time to build up.”

Mr Fusetti reckoned there was likely to be a significant premium paid for Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef.

“So long as buyers can be sure of the product and its quality, they will reward producers.

The level of premium is difficult to predict, but there should be one,” he said.

At present, much of the beef being sold as Aberdeen Angus in Italy was South American in origin, but that was likely to change as UK, and more importantly Scotch, product came back into the marketplace.