All legal obstacles have been addressed
f o r wa r d . W h e n y o u a r e travelling beyond Europe and the English-speaking world, you have to accept that, in many cases, you are introducing Ireland as a country, as much as highlighting its potential as a source of sustainable, high-quality food. “The presence of a government minister lends the necessary gravitas that will attract prospective buyers to attend events and engage with Irish companies, as well as secure valuable media coverage.”
Bord Bia’s Origin Green messaging is also hugely important, she says. “Sustainability is top of the agenda across the global food industry right now. The fact that we can tell buyers that the world’s first nationallybased food industry sustainability programme underpins our offering is a major plus.’ While opening up new markets is never easy, Irish suppliers are already achieving results that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. There may be no better example than the Middle East, where Irish food and drink exports reached €385m in 2016, and are on target to hit €500m by 2020. While leading one of her first trade missions as CEO of Bord Bia in 2016, McCarthy saw first-hand how tangible the opportunity has become. “We visited supermarket chains in the UAE [United Arab Emirates] which stock more Irish food brands on their shelves than you are likely to see anywhere in the world, outside the UK and Ireland. That gives you a sense of what’s happening right now and what is possible for the future. This couldn’t happen without face-to-face relationship building, and trade missions are going to be absolutely central to that in the years ahead.”
THE GULF IN FEBRUARY, JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA IN NOVEMBER: on the John Stone beef stand at Gulfood 2017 in Dubai, the world’s largest annual food and beverage exhibition, from left, Irish Ambassador to the UAE, Patrick Hennessy; Gillian O’Neill of Fine Foods Eire; Allan Morris, John Stone Beef; Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy; and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. It was Ireland’s largest ever presence at Gulfood, co-ordinated by Bord Bia, and the food board is off again this weekend, to Japan and South Korea, again led by Minister Creed, to boost Irish food and drink exports to these important markets.