Buyers from leading United Arab Emirates supermarket chain Spinneys were in Ireland this week at the invitation of Bord Bia.

Spinneys is due to host delegates on a trade mission to the Gulf states this month, led by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed.

Irish food and drink exports to the Gulf states are worth around €375m.

The two buyers attended meetings with 17 Irish food and drink firms. Spinneys has more than over 55 retail outlets across the United Arab Emirates and is a major buyer of Irish food.

Their two-day visit also focused on learning about Origin Green, Bord Bia’s sustainability programme, and the organisation’s consumer insight and research offering, as well as taking in some retail visits.

Bord Bia’s Middle East manager, Michael Hussey, says Ireland is ideally positioned to supply high quality, sustainable food to the Middle East market.

“Ireland has the potential to be a significant supplier to the Middle East region,” said Mr Hussey. “

The Gulf region population, which currently stands at 43.5m people, a 56% increase in one decade, is continuing to grow, with forecasts suggesting that it will exceed 50m people by 2020.”

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