Marketplace International 2018, a global food buyer event organised by Bord Bia to drive new business for Ireland’s agri-food industry, officially gets underway today.
More than 550 food buyers, from 50 countries around the world, are expected to participate in the week-long trade development event, which Bord Bia says is the largest of its kind ever to take place in Ireland. Bord Bia is targeting €40m worth of new business as a direct result of this year’s event.
The attending food buyers include representatives from Australia, Algeria, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, UAE, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Interest from UK buyers has remained strong, with close to 50 in attendance. The registered buyers represent every sector of the industry including dairy, beef, lamb, pigmeat, alcohol, seafood, prepared foods, grocery, bakery, confectionary and snacks and specialty foods.
Three-hundred of the international visitors will embark on 28 different three-day group itineraries organised and hosted by Bord Bia. The sector-focused itineraries will allow buyers to see Irish farms, factories, retail stores and manufacturing facilities all around the country to showcase the very best of the Irish food and drink industry.
On Thursday, all international visitors will reconvene in the RDS Dublin, for 5,000 pre-arranged one-to-one meetings with 185 Irish food companies.
Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said: “Marketplace is an invaluable opportunity for Irish food and drink companies to meet with a large number of international buyers face to face. It is our prime platform for showing international buyers’ first-hand what makes our products world-class. Initiatives such as Marketplace have enabled the sustained growth of Irish food and drink exports for the past eight years, culminating in a record value of €12.6bn in 2017."
Bord Bia says a team of its specialists, including its network of 13 international offices, have been preparing for Marketplace for over six months, including providing a comprehensive training programme for the 185 companies to ensure they were adequately prepared for this year’s showcase. Companies will put these skills into action in pre-scheduled, ‘speed-dating’ style meetings with the buyers in the RDS.