Food and drink companies forge global links at Bord Bia meetings

Millions of euro in new trade will result from speed-dating style meetings between Irish food and drink firms and global buyers at Bord Bia’s Marketplace 2012 yesterday in the National Convention Centre, Dublin.

Dublin whiskey producer Banshee Legend has secured two EU customers, plus three from the US.

Clonakilty Black Pudding’s Colette Twomey confirmed an order for a top-end London retailer and created strong links with a restaurant chain.

These are just two of the 177 Irish companies who took part in 4,500 Bord Bia-hosted meetings with 520 buyers from 28 nations. The buyers, such as Sainsburys, Selfridges, Tesco, Carrefour, Asda, Delhaize (Belgium), Mercadona and Alcampo (Spain), have a collective buying power of as much as €18 billion.

Bord Bia chairman Michael Carey said: “This is an industry where world-class commitments to quality and food safety are routine; an industry which meets the needs of some of the most sophisticated consumers in the world on a daily basis; and an industry that has achieved double-digit growth in its exports over the last two years.”

In 2011, Irish food and drink exports outside of Europe grew by 20% — €350 million — to reach almost €2.2bn. With a focus on developing new trade partners, some 14 Chinese retailers, 17 Middle Eastern buyers and 12 from Russia attended, along with the buyers from Britain, the EU and the US.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said: “We need to build on our excellent food export results for 2011. The record €8.9bn achieved in 2011 marks the resilience of the Irish food and drinks industry, its positivity and determination to supply buyers and consumers with the very best in quality and innovative products.”

Selfridges is staying on in Ireland for five days in preparation for Irish week in April.

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