Bord Bia targets food buyers in Gulf region

Irish ambassador to the United Emirates Pat Hennessey, Sile Sweeney, Pan Euro Foods, a key distributor in the UAE market for Irish brands and Michael Hussey, Bord Bia manager, Middle East

Fifteen Irish food exporters join Bord Bia for Dubai showcase



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22 February 2016

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Fifteen leading Irish food and drink companies join Bord Bia in Dubai this week for Gulfood 2016, the world’s largest food and hospitality trade show. The five-day event which opened yesterday, expects to attract over 90,000 food buyers from 156 countries around the world. Last year, Irish food and drink exports to the Middle East were valued at €385 million, up by 40% since 2012 (€275 million), with the Gulf States (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain) accounting for 70%, or €280 million, of total exports.

Positioning Ireland as ‘sustainable supply solution’

Since 2010, Bord Bia Marketing Fellowship graduates have been located in the UAE working on behalf of Irish food companies to develop new business. In 2014, Bord Bia opened a full time office in Dubai and speaking ahead of Gulfood, Bord Bia’s manager in Dubai Michael Hussey said: “Ireland has the potential to become a significant supplier to the Middle East region.” He added “while we export 90% of what we produce in Ireland, it is estimated that as much as 80-90% of food consumed in the Gulf region is imported. The population, which currently stands at 43.5m people, a 56% increase in one decade, is continuing to grow with forecasts suggesting it will exceed 50m people by 2020. Our focus at Gulfood this week will be to position Ireland as a sustainable supply solution to current and potential customers.”

Whilst dairy and dairy ingredients represent the vast majority of Ireland’s food exports to the Middle East, a wide range of Irish food products are sold in the Gulf region including beef, farmhouse cheeses, poultry, eggs, oysters, salmon, bakery, confectionery, herbs, tea, relishes, preserves, ice-cream, crisps and potatoes. Following events such as Bord Bia’s Marketplace International, where close to 50 food buyers from the Middle East visited Ireland, food companies have secured listings with leading retailers and high-end foodservice operators based in the Middle East. Irish beef is positioned as a premium product in many of the top restaurants and hotels, including the Burj Al Arab, regarded as the world’s most luxurious hotel.

Building momentum

Bord Bia states the strong Irish presence at Gulfood 2016 will be a significant and timely representation of the industry following a number of recent Bord Bia led marketing and promotional events across the UAE. Last week, Bord Bia’s chief executive, Aidan Cotter was the opening speaker at the Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture (GFIA) event in Abu Dhabi. He addressed over 300 government ministers, industry experts and policy makers on Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability programme. During a four day visit Abu Dhabi and Dubai, he also conducted a number of national television, radio and print interviews, while Bord Bia’s Middle East office hosted an ‘Origin Green’ stand at the GFIA showcase. The event attracted over 5,000 agri-scientists, inventors, growers, food suppliers and producers, NGOs, and key government officials over two days.

Gulfood 2016 – Irish companies participating:

1.       Ashbourne Meat Processors

2.       Butlers Chocolates

3.       CP Ingredients

4.       Dairygold Food Ingredients

5.       Dawn Farm Foods

6.       Glanbia Consumer Foods & Glanbia Ingredients

7.       Glenstall Foods Ltd.

8.       Green Isle Foods – Goodfellas

9.       Java Republic

10.   Jelly Bean Factory

11.   John Stone Fine Foods

12.   Oliver Carty Ltd

13.   Ornua

14.   Pan Euro Foods

15.   The Nest Box Egg Company – Golden Irish Eggs




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