Filipino meat lovers can now choose organic Irish beef in their local shops which has come all the way from Cahir, Co Tipperary.
Healthy Options, the Philippines’ largest organic health foods retailer, markets the striploin, ribeye and T-bone cuts as hormone-free, raised on family farms, with farm to table traceability.
Also involved in this retail launch of Irish beef in the Philippines is Good Herdsmen (ABP’s organic division), in Cahir, Co Tipperary.
Malcolm Leoi, Bord Bia’s Market Specialist for South East Asia, said: “Since the market opened for Irish beef in 2014, Bord Bia has been steadily building relationships between Irish beef suppliers and key trade customers in the Philippines.
“We are now leveraging these trade relationships to launch Irish beef for the first time in the Philippine retail channel.”
However, the Philippines is already a big destination for commodity beef from Ireland, with exports having jumped from €14.3m in 2018 to €37.8m in 2019, largely made up of frozen cuts.
The Philippines is Ireland’s third-largest Asian export destination for food and drink by value, after mainland China and Japan. The €76.9 million trade to the Philippines (in 2019) was up 29% from 2018, and is driven largely by meat and dairy.
Irish beef has featured in a three-year EU campaign, with €3.9 million being spent on the promotion of beef and pork in the Philippines, Vietnam and South Korea.
This followed Bord Bia winning an EU contract in 2018 to promote pork and beef on behalf of EU in these countries.
Bord Bia expects a strong import demand in the next few years in these markets.
John Purcell of Good Herdsmen said there is potential for retail growth in the Philippines.
“The launch of Irish beef in this market is a welcome development for a premium market opportunity, and will no doubt open up further avenues for organic and Irish beef in the long term.
“This is vital at a time when diversification into international markets is becoming increasingly important with the departure of the UK, our biggest market for beef and pork, from the EU.”
Malcolm Leoi said, “Irish beef is the perfect fit for Healthy Options with its focus on health and sustainability-conscious consumers in the Philippines.
“This partnership will also raise awareness of the premium nature of grass-fed Irish beef, sourced from Quality Assured farms, and fully traceable from farm to fork.”
“The Philippines offers significant growth potential for Irish beef, and heading up this EU campaign is recognition of Ireland as an exporting country with a strong history of promoting and supplying quality beef that is sustainably produced.
“The campaign is important because it gives Irish exporters access to food buyers in these priority markets who know about the high production standards in the EU, but may not have discovered the additional assurances Ireland can give around sustainability with our Origin Green programme.”
The Irish organic beef is imported into the Philippines, in modest volumes, by Premier Brands International.
Premier Brands International has been highly active in Asian and Middle Eastern markets including Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, where it consolidates shipments of premium Irish food brands directly to local retailers and distributors.
This provides Irish clients, especially smaller producers, with direct access to high-growth Asian markets.
PBI’s Asia operations are led by Singapore-based Regional Account Manager Sinead Kennedy, a former Bord Bia Fellow.
In 2019, Premier Brands launched a number of Irish products in Singapore on Lazada, which is the Alibaba Group’s e-commerce subsidiary, and Southeast Asia’s largest online retailer.
The products launched include Castlerahan chilled beef, Glenisk yoghurt, Mr Goods smoked salmon, Atlantic Treasures smoked mackerel, and Lifeway kefir.
PBI plans further expansions into Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
Healthy Options has 33 stores across the Philippines, including 24 in the capital Manila.