Food and drink to be showcased in festival events

Irish food and drink will take centre stage at a week- long series of events coordinated by Bord Bia to coincide with St Patrick’s Day celebrations worldwide.

From Moscow to Shanghai, through its network of international offices, Bord Bia has scheduled events aimed at consumers, retailers, trade and food service operators.

The sector’s exports surpassed €9bn for the first time in 2012.

Key promotions will include Britain’s “Biggest Ever St Patrick’s Day Feast”.

This will reach some 5m British consumers, with events fronted by Catherine Fulvio and other celebrity chefs. Bord Bia is also supporting an “Irish Food Market” as part of the Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Day Festival.

Exports to Britain, valued at €3.8bn, represented 42% of total Irish food and drink exports in 2012.

In France, Irish Angus beef and Irish seafood — including oysters, mussels, crab and scallops — will be the centre of attention across some 140 Casino stores in the Paris region and south east of France. Groupe Casino is the fifth largest retail group in France, with an annual turnover of €42bn.

Meanwhile, Intermarché, the third-largest grocery retailer in France, is planning a nationwide promotion on Irish steer T-bone steaks across 1,500 stores.

After Britain, France is Ireland’s second most important export market, with annual exports valued at €646m in 2012. Similar promotional drives are to take place in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, a number of restaurants in the Moscow and St Petersburg regions will undertake promotional activities on Irish beef this weekend. In China, Bord Bia sponsored the annual ‘St Patrick’s Féile Shanghai’ earlier this week.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn was guest of honour at the event, attended by the Irish community and Shanghai locals.

In 2012, dairy exports to China surpassed €180m, an increase of 40% on the previous year. China will play an increasingly important role post-2015 as production levels in Ireland are targeted to increase by 50%.

Cityshop supermarkets, the largest chain store in Shanghai, in conjunction with Bord Bia, will host an Irish food festival to provide an opportunity for Chinese consumers to enjoy a taste of Ireland, including the Ocean Jade premium Irish seafood range and Magner’s Irish Cider, both of which have been recently launched in the Chinese market.

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