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Sustainable sourcing remains a key concern for global meat buyers

Bord Bia’s Meat Marketing Seminar discusses the importance of meeting the sustainability needs of global customers of Irish meat

Date: 13/01/2023

Bord Bia’s annual Meat Marketing Seminar today examines the performance of the Irish meat sector in 2022, and discusses the biggest challenges and opportunities for the year ahead.

Over 200 attendees are expected at the event in the Killashee Hotel, Naas, which will be opened by Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The seminar will address a number of important themes affecting the Irish and global meat industry including inflation, meat consumption levels, and the sustainability requirements of customers. 

Speaking before the event, Bord Bia Chief Executive Jim O’Toole explained the need to remain focused on the long-term sustainability expectations of consumers and global meat buyers:

Ireland must continue to build on its key attributes as a meat supplier, focusing on sustainability, quality and safety. This reputation has been built up over many years and gives us a distinct competitive advantage in our export markets. However, it is critical that farm sustainability keeps pace with the sourcing needs of our global retail and foodservice customers. Through the partnership approach of the Origin Green programme, Bord Bia is committed to supporting our farmers and producers to meet these evolving needs.”

The seminar will hear how the Origin Green programme is working in collaboration with Teagasc and the ICBF to support farmers in meeting agriculture’s obligations under the Climate Action Plan.

The seminar also features guest speaker Gavin Hodgson, Director of Agriculture, Horticulture and Aquaculture with Sainsbury’s, who will speak about Sainsbury’s commitment to sustainable sourcing:

Sustainability is incredibly important to our customers and us, and farm level investment is a key first step towards ensuring we are able to deliver high quality, sustainable products to our customers today and in the future.

Rupert Claxton, of Gira, Consultancy and Research – another guest speaker at today’s seminar – noted that we are likely to see sustainability return to the top of the agenda among Governments this year:

“The disruption of the Ukraine war, and resultant inflationary impact of high food and energy prices, led governments to focus on controlling inflation in 2022, especially in Europe. However, in 2023 they will refocus on progressing the EU Green Deal and its implementation. This will give some clarity at farm-level on what is changing, and will present a new set of focus-points and goals.”

The seminar will also feature a review and outlook across each meat species from Bord Bia’s sector managers for meat and livestock. It was a positive year in terms of meat and livestock export performance, with exports growing by 15% in value to reach €4 billion. Beef exports reached €2.5 billion (512,000 tonnes), up 18% in value on 2021. Sheepmeat exports rose by 17% to reach €475 million (75,000 tonnes). Despite significant cost-pressure on producers, Irish pigmeat exports increased by 2% at €540 million. Irish poultry exports grew by 14% to €143 million during 2022, as stronger prices helped to offset slightly lower export volumes. Valued added meats, which includes processed meats such as burgers, reached a record €900 million in 2022.

The value of Irish livestock exports grew by 8% in 2022 to reach an estimated €230 million. There were approximately 285,000 head of live cattle exported, which represented a 15% year-on-year increase.