One million packets of Keogh's crisps to be served to first-class Emirates passengers
Bord Bia Marketplace brings food and drink buyers from more than 50 countries to ‘speed-date’ sales event
John Harrington of Kush Mussel Farm, Ardgroom, Co Cork, shows his product to Asian, German and Middle Eastern seafood buyers attending Bord Bia’s Marketplace International 2018.
A group of 550 professional food buyers from more than 50 countries, with an estimated €40 million to spend, will “speed date” with 185 on Irish food and drink companies at the RDS in Dublin on Thursday morning in a fast-pitched sales initiative.
In one of the first deals to be finalised, one million packets of Keogh's Crisps, made in north Dublin, will be served annually to first class passengers on Emirates airlines flights. The crisps, in ready salted flavour, will be served in 25g packs with the airline's drinks and hot snacks services.
According to Bord Bia, Marketplace International 2018 is the largest trade development event ever staged in Ireland. It follows on from similar initiatives in 2012 and 2015, and will be officially opened by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
Chief executive Tara McCarthy said, “Initiatives such as Marketplace have enabled the sustained growth of Irish food and drink exports for the past eight years, culminating in a record value of €12.6bn in 2017.”
In addition to 5,000 pre-arranged,one-to-one, 30-minute meetings on Thursday, at which Irish food and drink companies will pitch their products to the buyers, many of the visitors have been touring the country this week, experiencing Ireland’s larder first hand.
Some 300 buyers from 28 countries have spent the past three days visiting farms, production units, factories and distilleries across Ireland. In all, 28 different three-day group itineraries were put together, targeting distilleries, grocery, dairy, beef, pork and lamb, and seafood.
On Monday, 20 drinks buyers from Africa, Eastern Europe, North America, Russia, South East Asia and Italy visited Teelings Distillery in Dublin and Ballykeefe Distillery in Cuffesgrange, before heading to Glendalough Distillery and Wicklow Way Wines on Tuesday and The Shed Distillery in Drumshambo on Wednesday.
Seafood buyers had diverse and far reaching itineraries, visiting producers and processors as far afield as Donegal and the Beara peninsula. Wild Irish Seaweeds, collected off the coast of Co Clare by fourth generation seaweed harvesters the Talty family, and Ireland’s only fish cannery, Irish Fish Canner in Dungloe, Co Donegal , were among the niche producers the buyers met.
Foods of Athenry in Galway, Goodness Grains in Longford, Keogh’s Farm, Lir Chocolates, East Coast Bakehouse, The Jelly Bean Factory, Brodericks and Butler’s Chocolate Factory featured on several grocery itineraries, while visits were also made to retailers Avoca, SuperValu, Dunnes Stores, Tesco and Fresh.
Working farms, commercial plants and factories across the country featured on the dairy itineraries. Meat buyers from China, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Germany and North America visited pork and bacon factories, beef and lamb processing plants, and the ICBF Progeny Test Centre in Tully, where information on the national herd is stored.
A Bord Bia team of specialists, headed by Karen Tyner, a senior manager for Food & Beverage, has been working on Marketplace International 2018 for more than six months, with input from its 13 international offices.
The preparations included providing training for the Irish companies participating. Following feedback from exhibitors and buyers who attended the previous Marketplace International, in 2015, Irish companies availed of advice on choosing export markets, logistics, and sales pitch techniques. This was delivered through a series of training workshops.