Access 6 programme strengthens Ireland-France export ties
Irish companies to tap into French retail grocery and foodservice market worth €312 billion
20 February 2014
Access 6, an EU-funded export development programme, has launched a drive to boost Irish food and drink exports to the €312 billion French retail grocery and foodservice market at an event hosted by the Irish ambassador to France, H.E. Rory Montgomery, in Paris.
The Access 6 programme is an EU INTERREG IVA-funded programme delivered by the Irish Exporters Association (IEA), Northern Ireland Food & Drink (NIFDA) and Scotland Food & Drink (SFD). The initiative aims to provide 90 SMEs across the three border regions with training and mentorship to successfully supply and trade in a number of foreign markets including the UK, France, Germany, Scandinavia, North America and Benelux.
Important Eurozone trading partner
France remains the leading continental European market for Irish food and drink exports and Ireland’s most important Eurozone trading partner in the sector, with total 2013 food and drink exports estimated at €673 million. The double digit growth achieved in 2013 saw growth not only in areas of traditional strength such as lamb and beverages, but significant new business in categories such as mushrooms, snails, bakery, farmhouse cheese and soft drinks.
The Irish companies taking part in the French cluster of the initiative include Starcrest Seafood, Swift Fine Foods, Terra Drinks, Big Pot Company, Brunch Box and Good 4 U, to name but a few.
The evening reception, marking the launch of the French cluster, acted as a showcase for the participating companies and their produce. Attendees at the event held at the Irish embassy in Paris, included potential buyers in the French food and drink sector and representatives from organisations such as Network Irelande and the Irish French Chamber of Commerce.
Bullseye Marketing appointed as mentor
The event also celebrated the appointment of Bullseye Marketing, an Irish based provider of food marketing and business development solutions, as the official mentor to the participating companies that are embarking on French export strategies.
Access 6 programme director, John Whelan said: "The 15 SME producers on the French cluster of the Access 6 programme are expected to achieve the targeted incremental sales of quarter of a million euro each. A total of €3.7 million added sales for the 15 companies is a small slice of the €312 billion plus French market, but to each of these companies it will make a significant difference to their total company performance over the next two years, and guide them along the path to sustainable sales in the French market over the years to come."
The participating companies will now embark on a range of audits, training modules and study tours, led by Bullseye, with the aim of enhancing their export capacity. Acting as a broker, Bullseye will negotiate meetings with potential channel partners including retailers and food service providers, with the long term goal of helping the Irish companies secure product listings in the French market.