More than 550 overseas buyers are due to attend some 5,000 meetings with 185 Irish food and drink companies in the RDS Dublin on Thursday as part of the Bord Bia’s Marketplace event, writes Joe Dermody.
The week-long food and drink showcase got underway yesterday, with 300 of the international visitors embarking on the first of 28 different three-day group itineraries organised and hosted by Bord Bia. The event is expected to deliver €40m in new business for Irish food companies.
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.
“Marketplace is an invaluable opportunity for Irish food and drink companies to meet with a large number of international buyers face to face,” said Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy. “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.”
The visiting food buyers include representatives from Australia, Algeria, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, UAE, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.
Interest from UK buyers remains strong, with close to 50 attending. Visiting buyers represented every sector of the industry including from dairy and beef to alcohol, seafood and prepared foods.
A team of Bord Bia specialists, including its network of 13 international offices, spent six months preparing for Marketplace, including providing a comprehensive training programme for the 185 companies to ensure they were adequately prepared for meetings with potential buyers. Through a series of training workshops, Irish companies availed of advice on choosing export markets, logistics, and sales pitch techniques. Companies will then get to put these skills into action in pre-scheduled, ‘speed-dating’ style meetings with the buyers in the RDS.