Export boost from Co Cork to East Asia

The launch of Ireland’s best-known food brand in the world’s 11th largest economy boosted last week’s Irish trade mission to South Korea and Japan, led by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and Bord Bia Chief Executive Tara McCarthy.

Export boost from Co Cork to East Asia

Stephen Cadogan

The launch of Ireland’s best-known food brand in the world’s 11th largest economy boosted last week’s Irish trade mission to South Korea and Japan, led by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and Bord Bia Chief Executive Tara McCarthy.

Ornua’s major product expansion into the South Korean market, with the launch of Kerrygold butter, to be sold through major Korean retailers, was unveiled by Minister Creed.

John Jordan of Ornua said: “Opening new routes to market, such as South Korea, is a central pillar of Ornua’s strategy to develop Kerrygold from a butter brand into a €1bn global dairy brand.”

Minister Creed said: “I have confidence that in the near future, South Korea will become an important market for Kerrygold butter and cheese.

“As we prepare for a post-Brexit environment, it is critical that we build these new markets for premium Irish dairy products.”

South Korea is the 11th largest economy internationally, and has fast rising consumption of dairy produce, currently importing 150,000 tonnes of cheese and butter.

Made from the milk of grass-fed cows, Kerrygold dairy products bring a unique new offering to South Korean consumers, who place a high value on the origin and quality of their food.

According to Bord Bia, “Grass-fed is a dairy category asset for Ireland to leverage in the Korean market, as natural and pure both have relevance, and are quite distinctive versus that of the local dairy options.

The launch of Kerrygold in Seoul, South Korea’s capital, is good news for Co Cork and Munster, with Kerrygold Park opening in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, last year with capacity to produce and pack up to 50,000 tonnes of butter per annum, for export to over 110 countries.

Other Co Cork based milk processors also came back from last week’s trade mission to South Korea and Japan with encouraging news.

Noel Corcoran, Sales and Marketing Director of the Carbery Group, said the West Cork-based firm has been exporting nutritional whey-based food ingredients to Japan for more than 20 years, and insights from science allow food ingredient manufacturers such as Carbery create ingredients with compelling nutritional arguments to tackle sarcopenia in Japan and in other key markets.

Sarcopenia is age-related muscle loss, an increasing threat to Japan’s ageing population with its long life expectancy.

Mark Keller, Head of Sales and Marketing at Dairygold Food Ingredients, also attended the Bord Bia and ministerial trade mission to Japan and Korea.

He said it was an overall significant success, with two core objectives achieved — to get a clear view of consumer trends, behaviours and attitudes towards dairy and dairy products, and to meet with existing and new distributors to understand how Dairygold can meet the needs of customers.

“Over the course of the week, this proved fruitful for Dairygold,” he revealed.

Next week: access to Japan since 2013 has been successful for exporters of Irish beef tongue. And with no Brazilian competition in Japan, the drive is on to send more of Ireland’s beef production to the third largest beef importer in the world.

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