Irish firms attend food fair in Paris
SOME 18 Irish meat, dairy and food companies are promoting their produce at Sial, one of the world’s largest food trade fairs, which opened in Paris yesterday.
Bord Bia, the Irish food board, is hosting 15 of the companies under its Origin Green banner.
After meeting French president François Hollande, Taoiseach Enda Kenny will attend the fair this evening for the international launch of the Origin Green programme.
The Bord Bia project aims to get all Irish food and drink manufacturers signed up to an environmentally-friendly charter by 2016.
Minister of State for Agriculture Shane McEntee will also visit Sial today.
The fair, which closes on Thursday, is being attended by up to 6,000 exhibitors representing more than 100 countries.
Almost 140,000 international visitors are expected this year, 40 per cent of whom will be French buyers.
France is the leading euro zone market for Irish food and drink products.
Mr McEntee said the show was a major business development platform for Irish food exporters.
“France is Ireland’s biggest customer for lamb and seafood; second largest customer for beef; and third for whiskey. Irish food and drink companies value that custom. They are here to consolidate business and build new business.”
Bord Bia chairman Michael Carey said that despite challenging trading conditions Irish exporters continued to grow their business in an increasingly competitive European marketplace.
“Irish food and drink exports to France in 2011 amounted to €646 million, an increase of 13.9 per cent since 2010.”