- Title: Iranian saffron fuels growth of German food business
- Date: 2nd October 2016
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (RECENT - SEPTEMBER 22, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MICHAEL SABET, FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MIASA GMBH, TAKING BOX WITH BOTTLE OF SAFFRON LIQUEUR FROM SHELF AND OPENING IT VARIOUS OF BOTTLE OF SAFFRON LIQUEUR MIASA SAFFRON TIN AND VARIOUS COOKING RECOMMENDATIONS MIASA SAFFRON TIN BEING OPENED BY SABET VARIOUS OF SABET SPRINKLING SAFFRON ON PAPER (SOUNDBITE) (German) MICHAEL SABET, FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MIASA GMBH, SAYING: "Germany already had good relations to Iran. And I think that it will be expanded further. I hope the end of sanctions will allow exports to rise and have a positive effect on the import business as well." VARIOUS OF MIASA PRODUCTS MIASA SAFFRON LIQUEUR AND SAFFRON ESSENCE (SOUNDBITE) (German) MICHAEL SABET, FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MIASA GMBH, SAYING: "After the lifting of the sanctions many importers - companies like us - had the chance to to open accreditives (notification of credits) with the banks. And that opened up a whole lot of new opportunities for us. We could now properly get on with our business, start the negotiations with the exporters. It was positive for the business." MIASA SAFFRON PASTA MIASA SAFFRON HONEY (SOUNDBITE) (German) MICHAEL SABET, FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MIASA GMBH, SAYING: "Well, I do hope for the relations between Iran and the entire region (and Germany) to be strengthened, to be expanded (after the lifting of the sanctions). Iran has an incredible amount of commodities in the area of agriculture which are very exciting for Europe and the rest of the world. Insofar, I do hope that the trip (of German vice chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel to Iran) will be successful and that the trade relations (with Iran) will be strengthened. SAFFRON SABET POURING SAFFRON IN TIN
- Embargoed: 17th October 2016 14:43
- Keywords: Germany Iran saffron embargo
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00152B8GGL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Once cultivated by Persian kings and believed to have healing powers, saffron is now fuelling the growth of a small German business that imports tons of the spice from Iran to make fine food products for sale in Europe and the Gulf.
Iran produces about 90 percent of the world's saffron, but hundreds of years ago, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy were also important producers during the Middle Ages.
Michael Sabet, an Iranian-German business executive who quit his banking job six years ago to found Miasa GmbH, which is now doubling its revenues every year, says that business relations between Germany and Iran have always been good. And he expects it to expand further.
"I hope the end of sanctions will allow exports to rise and have a positive effect on the import business as well,'' said Sabet.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is due to head to Iran with a planeful of executives keen to rebuild trade ties.
The idea for Miasa was born when Sabet's Iranian father and German mother brought back a can of saffron from a trip to Iran.
His father has since died, but Sabet has developed a whole new appreciation for Iranian culture through his work, including yearly visits for the saffron harvest.
Sabet is one of many German business leaders who see great business opportunities opening up in Iran after the end of sanctions related to its nuclear weapons programme.
"After the lifting of the sanctions many importers - companies like us - had the chance to to open accreditives (notification of credits) with the banks," Sabet said. "And that opened up a whole lot of new opportunities for us. We could now properly get on with our business, start the negotiations with the exporters. It was positive for the business."
Miasa delivers large quantities of high quality saffron to industrial users, but also produces 20 different products ranging from saffron-infused sea salt, honey, rice and even coffee that are sold via the company's website or at luxury stores like Berlin's famous Kaufhaus des Westens, or KaDeWe.
It also produces a liquor infused with elderberry, lychees and saffron that sells for nearly 40 euros ($44.90) a bottle, and even comes in a non-alcoholic version for sale to Muslim countries.
Sabet says the business is growing fast given increasing demand for speciality "fine foods," the rise of gourmet cooking shows and the increasing popularity of Middle Eastern cooking. Sweden is one of the biggest consumers of saffron because the spice plays a key role in Christmas baked goods, he said.
He also added that in the Gulf more consumers are also looking for packaged products such saffron rice.
Initially Sabet tried to grow saffron - which comes from the flower of the crocus plant - in Germany's Black Forest, but soon realised the yield per plant was far too low to produce the quantities needed for industrial-scale sales.
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