Bord Bia briefing: Food firms plan for life post-Brexit

Managing volatility impacts, market insights and extending market reach will help Irish agri-food exporters minimise any likely damage from the UK’s eventual EU exit, industry experts said at a Bord Bia Brexit briefing.

Bord Bia hosted a Dublin event for 180 Irish food and drink exporters, with inputs from UK food retail market experts. Participants shared views on the post-Brexit trading landscape, and outlined Bord Bia’s measures for supporting companies.

“Britain takes 41% of our food and drink exports, valued at €4.4bn,” said Bord Bia CEO Aidan Cotter.

“If we can’t resolve the uncertainty, and clearly we can’t, our hope is that at least we can now begin to learn how we can deal with it and live with it. Our ongoing close contact with our clients will inform our future supports for the sector.”

The briefing included UK market insights from James Walton, IGD; Joanna Walker, former retail buyer in UK; and Jon Copestake, editor and chief retail analyst at The Economist.

Views were offered by Irish exporters Larry Murrin, CEO of Dawn Farm Foods; Paul Finnerty, CEO of ABP Food Group; and Eoin Donnelly, MD of Lily O’Brien’s.

Bord Bia is to hold a workshop later this month on volatility, advising exporters on how to access the right data and manage volatility via negotiation and financial and contractual considerations.

Bord Bia will also provide an ongoing online financial outlook resource.

Bord Bia is also to invite client companies to programmes focused on consumer and market insights.

It will seek to deepen its customer engagement by amplifying existing trade events, ‘meet the buyer’ sessions and pursue opportunities to promote Irish products in the retail and food service environment.

“These measures were informed by one-to-one contacts with our clients and our post-Brexit survey,” said Aidan Cotter.

“Our goal is to assist companies, maintain competitiveness through providing advice on managing volatility impacts, provision of consumer and market insight, deepening customer engagement and extending market reach.”

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