Following three days of visits to over 80 Irish farms, factories and food producers nationwide, almost 550 food buyers from all around the world are gathering in the RDS, Dublin, for Bord Bia’s Marketplace Ireland 2018 event.
The buyers are meeting with 185 Irish food and drink companies, ranging in size and profile from small enterprises to multinationals, for over 5,000 pre-scheduled ‘speed-dating’ style meetings. Bord Bia has set an ambitious target of securing €40m worth of new business within the next 18 months as a direct result of this year’s event. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, accompanied by the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle, officially opened proceedings at the one-day event.
Speaking ahead of the event, Minister Creed said: “Because of our competitive advantage in sustainable food production, and our relatively small domestic market, Ireland’s food sector is very export focused. We export over 80 per cent of the food we produce to almost 180 countries worldwide.
"There are enormous opportunities in EU and global markets for the food we produce with continued globalisation and urbanisation driving demand for food and agricultural produce. We have an increased focus on growing and developing these new markets. We welcome the record number of international buyers from markets worldwide to Ireland to see at first hand our national commitment to the highest food safety standards, to experience the quality of the produce we export, but also to observe the shared promise of the sustainability standards of the produce we export and demanded by consumers the world over.
"Ireland’s national food strategy, Food Wise 2025, sets out both growth and sustainability ambitions with neither one to be achieved at the expense of the other. Our ambition is to deliver jobs for our people, maximise the incomes of our farmers, and protect and enhance our rural environment. “
Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, said: “This year marks Bord Bia’s 7th Marketplace International event, and its largest trade event ever organised by Bord Bia. This week is the culmination of 10 months planning and preparation, not just by Bord Bia but also the wider agri-food sector. Since June 2017, we have worked in collaboration with our client companies, and with support from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to target the leading global players across retail, foodservice, convenience, online, wholesale, travel retail, distribution and manufacturing channels. Food buyers have travelled from over across the globe – Australia, Algeria, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, UAE, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa to mention a few – and represent every sector of the industry including for dairy, beef, lamb, pigmeat, alcohol, seafood, prepared foods, grocery, bakery, confectionary and snacks, and specialty foods.
“Despite the challenges of Brexit, interest from UK buyers has remained strong, with close to 50 in attendance. In addition to a strong representation of UK and European buyers, we are also really encouraged by the fact that we have almost 20 new countries, including Hungary, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines, represented at this year’s Marketplace, compared to three years ago. This is testament to the success of our ongoing market diversification strategy, which has been fully supported by the industry and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.”