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Bord Bia’s St Patrick’s Day global campaign to drive market diversification and new opportunities for Ireland’s €13bn food and drink industry

Date: 08/03/2021

This month, Bord Bia will leverage the global phenomena and popularity of St Patrick’s Day to launch a programme of targeted trade engagements and a series of new promotional campaigns across 14 countries. Irish food and drink exports reached over €13 billion in 2020, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 and Brexit.

Throughout March, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D., Minister of State, Martin Heydon T.D., and Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy will lead a series of meetings with some of the industry’s key global customers across the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and North American markets. The trade engagements will culminate in a virtual trade mission to China that will include high level customer meetings, and a ‘Driving Growth in China’ seminar for Irish exporters featuring experts on the Chinese market across the meat, dairy, seafood and alcohol sectors.

Speaking today the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D., said: “This programme of events is part of our strategic response to the challenges the agri-food and fisheries sector faces arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit impacts. Structured engagements  with key business customers offer a real opportunity to communicate the premium quality of Ireland’s food and drink offering, to the benefit of all those along the supply chain, particularly farmers and fishers as our primary producers.”

Minister for State, Martin Heydon T.D., stated: “St Patrick’s Day offers Ireland a unique global platform and I am delighted that Bord Bia is putting Irish food and drink at the heart of this year’s virtual celebration. As Minister with responsibility for New Market Development, I look forward to engaging with key international customers, across a range of food and drink sectors. The Covid pandemic has changed the way we live and the behaviour of consumers. Our Irish Food & Drink sector has shown remarkable resilience in the face of this changing environment. This programme of events will further help to support the sector and highlight the quality of our offering to a global audience.” 

Meanwhile Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy added “Despite the current restrictions internationally, Bord Bia has reimagined our traditional St Patrick’s Day programme of activity to ensure we are leveraging every available opportunity to support the Irish food, drink and horticulture sector at a time when they are facing unprecedented challenges amidst Covid-19 and trading in a post Brexit era. In line with our market diversification strategy, this year we are placing particular importance on priority European and international markets. This year’s campaign will capitalise on the invaluable platform of St. Patrick’s Day to deliver key business development meetings, events and promotional campaigns that allow us to tell the story of Origin Green, our industry and its producers, and to engage with new and existing customers around the globe.

Some of Bord Bia’s planned promotional activity includes an Irish beef and lamb promotion with 1,000 retail outlets across Germany and an online beef promotion with one of Italy’s largest retailers. Bord Bia is also partnering with Tourism Ireland on a range of activities including a ‘St Patrick’s Day At Home’ digital festival in the Netherlands, featuring demonstrations from Chefs’ Irish Beef Club members and the creation of video content for Spanish TV cookery channel Canal Cocina, featuring Michelin star chef Mario Sandoval, who will be promoting Irish grass-fed Hereford beef at his restaurant.  In the UAE, Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland will join forces for a series of promotional radio programmes.

In the UK, which accounts for 32% or €4.3 billion of Irish food and drink exports, one of Bord Bia’s promotional activities will target over one million UK consumers through a collaboration with a number of high-profile chefs.

Further afield, Bord Bia’s New York office will host a virtual press event with renowned chef Dan Barber, previously appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. In Japan, Bord Bia is exhibiting at FOODEX, the largest annual food and beverage trade show in the country, and will directly target directly Japanese consumers in a series of in-market activities commencing with an in-store promotion with the Aeon retail group. And finally, in the Philippines, Bord Bia will lead a trade masterclass targeting food service and hotel industry food buyers and chefs.