Ray Ryan hears of Bord Bia’s expansive St Patrick’s Day global promotional plan to capitalise on positive sentiment towards all things Irish.
THE world will turn green tomorrow — at least many of its iconic sites will do so — in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day.
Millions of Irish people across the globe will mark their heritage and identity and millions more will wear the green and wish they were Irish too.
But there is more to the day than parades, renewal of friendships and a sharing of good will and happiness.
It is also an opportunity to promote Ireland overseas and showcase the best of what the country has in terms of trade, tourism and investment.
Irish food and drink, which last year accounted for exports of almost €10.5bn, or €200m per week, will again form a major part of the activities.
Bord Bia has already dispatched 68 showcase packs to 62 Irish embassies and consulates around the world to ensure that influential foreign guests at official events experience the best in Irish food and beverage, bring home happy memories of it and develop a taste for more.
Aidan Cotter, chief executive, said the occasion provides Bord Bia and producers with an unique opportunity to showcase Irish food and drink.
“The goodwill towards all things Irish on our national day allows us connect to potential new customers invited to embassy events, Irish community gatherings as well as maximising media interest surrounding the festival.
“These events and promotional campaigns allow us renew our links with friends of Ireland, tell the story of sustainable quality food production through our Origin Green initiative and secure loyal support for Irish food and drink.
“This year, driving on from Ireland’s success in gaining access to the United States, Bord Bia will use St Patrick’s Day to build awareness among influencers and consumers of the quality, safety and Origin Green sustainability of Irish beef. ” The annual high profile American Fund of Ireland Dinner in Washington today will have a distinctly Gaelic flavour with Irish beef making a return to the menu for the high profile event.Over 1,000 people are expected to attend.
World famous Irish chefs will also cook and and present Irish beef on US breakfast television. In Paris, where chefs are stars in every sense of the word, Bord Bia will host a media lunch to welcome the newest member to its Chefs’ Irish Beef Club.
St Patrick’s Day also heralds the start of many new promotional campaigns aimed at introducing overseas consumers to the tastes of Irish food and drink.
This year these will be held as far afield as Dubai where Bord Bia will sponsor five hampers of Irish food for a customer competition in Spinneys Supermarket as well as an Irish food festival. Our largest market, Britain, will see a recipe-led Irish beef promotion featuring five ‘perfect for St Patrick’s Day’ recipes on an Irish beef website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and in national newspapers.
An ‘Irish Food Market’ at Trafalgar Square, part of the annual Mayor’s St Patrick’s Day Festival, held yesterday, featured well-known Irish companies.
In Germany, visitors in Munich can avail of the opportunity to enter in a prize draw to win Irish beef related prizes, such as luxury cooking accessories and vouchers.
Irish beef steak will be available in two of the largest Irish pubs in the city. It will also be available at popular food stands for the parade.
In the Netherlands, Bord Bia will sponsor the filming of Masterchef Netherlands where Chefs Irish Beef Club and Michelin-starred chef Erik van Loo will be guest. It will also run beef promotions and point of sale tastings in Spain and Belgium Bord Bia has also engaged a number of leading French and Belgian retailers to support its St Patrick’s Day promotions.
Irish seafood — including crab, mussels, salmon and oysters — will take centre stage in 20 flagship Casino stores. Groupe Casino is the fifth largest retail group in France with an annual turnover of €42 billion.
Meanwhile, Intermarché, the third largest grocery retailer in France, is planning a nationwide promotion on Irish steer ribs across 1,500 stores, while Metro will promote Irish beef and lamb across its nine cash and carries in Belgium.
Irish farmhouse cheese will feature on French cheese platters across the country on St Patrick’s Day with notably a promotion in a chain of 12 cheesemongers in the north of France.
Bord Bia Paris has joined forces again this year with Tourism Ireland to promote “Ireland in Paris”, a celebration of Irish food, music and film in the Irish Cultural Centre on Wednesday.
In Sweden, top meat restaurant AG will be present an Irish specific menu. Irish products will include a range of dry aged beef, flat oysters cheese, beer and whiskey. Patrons will be treated to live Irish music to ensure a complete experience.
Food and drink will be just part of the promotion focus by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton and 26 of their ministerial colleagues, who will be attending St Patrick’s Day abroad.
The whole spectrum of trade and jobs will be showcased in over 100 business events and at 100 high-level political meetings in 27 countries.
Last year, the St Patrick’s Day programme reached audiences of more than 353,000 directly and 80m people through media coverage and assisted in securing €5m in new business for Irish exporters.
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