Over 180 Irish food and drink exporters attend Bord Bia’s Brexit briefing

Aidan Cotter, CEO, Bord Bia and James Walton, chief economist, IGD

New UK and EU landscapes explained, along with support measures for exporters

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6 July 2016 | 0

Bord Bia today brought together over 180 Irish food and drink exporters and experts from the UK food retail market to share information on the post Brexit trading landscape and to outline the organisation’s measures for supporting companies as they navigate the new trading environment.

The Irish companies, who had highlighted the need for information in Bord Bia`s post-Brexit survey, received insights from experts on current UK and EU market conditions and currency management. The ensuing panel discussions were designed to help exporters identify future pressure points in their business models that may require attention.

Aidan Cotter, chief executive, Bord Bia pointed out that the UK “takes 41% of our food and drink exports, valued at €4.4 billion.

“Our hope is that today’s event may advance all of our deliberations and if we can`t resolve the uncertainty, and clearly we can’t, that at least we can now begin to learn how we can deal with it and live with it,” Cotter said. “The learnings from today and our ongoing close contact with our clients will inform our future supports for the sector.”

 Bord Bia measures to support Irish food and drink businesses 

  1. Managing volatility impacts

As currency volatility is the key immediate issue highlighted by Irish food and drink exporters, Bord Bia is holding a workshop later this month on the topic. This workshop will demonstrate how to access the right information and manage volatility through negotiation as well as financial and contractual considerations. Bord Bia will also provide an ongoing online financial outlook resource to ensure companies have the latest forecasts on the evolving currency situation.

  1. Provision of consumer and market insight

Bord Bia runs a number programmes for companies entering the UK to help them best position themselves in the market.  The current UK market specific programmes will have their financial, competitive, contractual and regulatory modules strengthened. Additional one-to-one mentoring with UK foodservice and retail experts will be made available to more companies to assist with negotiations and future planning from next week.

  1. Deepening customer engagement

Bord Bia will increase its focus on promoting Ireland as a sustainable sourcing opportunity for UK buyers. Utilising its long term, strong relationships with UK trade customers, Bord Bia will amplify  existing  trade events, “meet the buyer” sessions and pursue opportunities to promote Irish products in the retail and foodservice environment.

Bord Bia will highlight throughout our engagement with customers how the Origin Green programme provides a unique layer of assurance when sourcing imports post-Brexit, addressing concerns of food security, the environment and sustainability. In October, Bord Bia will host an Origin Green reception in the Irish Embassy in London with past and current Origin Green Ambassadors and their UK based host companies.

Irish companies presenting at UK trade shows, such as the Speciality Fine Food Fair, will be further supported through pre-event workshops and mentoring to advise them on new channels. A further series of UK customer engagement and market support activities is being scheduled for the remainder of the year including intense one-to-one engagement with over forty leading trade customers. This is in addition to Bord Bia’s first ever participation at Lunch, the food-to-go trade show in September and the annual trade reception in December, both taking place in London.

  1. Extending market reach

In parallel, Bord Bia will continue to support our client companies to overcome the barriers for market diversification through the provision of market and consumer insight and brand guidance, while enhancing our market and trade visits, particularly to emerging markets.  The latter will include in particular trade missions to Asia and to North Africa, and participation at leading trade fairs, from CIMIE and China Fisheries in China to SIAL in Paris in October.

Bord Bia’s strategic priority of developing new routes to market is underlined by the opening of two new offices this month, in Warsaw to expand our support in Eastern Europe, and in Singapore to service eight emerging markets in South East Asia.

The Irish market

Conscious of possible pressure on the home market from imports from a weaker Sterling, Bord Bia’s market development activities on the Irish market are also being reviewed. An Origin Green public engagement campaign is also scheduled from October to December, to highlight the unique commitments being made by Irish farmers and the wider food industry in sustainability.

Visit www.bordbia.ie/brexit to stay up-to-date.

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