Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine launches Irish Food Board’s three-year trade strategy for the UAE

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  • Beginning February 13 in Dubai, the trade mission includes a visit to Gulfood, where 14 Irish food companies will showcase their latest innovations.
  • Bord Bia aims to increase exports to the wider Middle East market to 380 million euros by 2025.
  • Visiting Expo 2020 Dubai during its Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Thematic Week, Minister McConalogue and Ailish Forde, Director of Global Business Development, Bord Bia will be part of a series of seminars customers and panel discussions organized by Bord Bia that will be held at the Irish pavilion to talk about sustainable food systems and food security.
  • During the trade mission, the Irish delegation will officially welcome a new chef to the local chapter of the Chefs’ Irish Beef Club.

Dubai: As part of the launch of Bord Bia’s (the Irish Food Board) new three-year business strategy for the Middle East market, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, will travel to the United Arab Emirates, bringing with it 14 Irish food businesses.

Signifying the importance placed on the region, Minister Charlie McConalogue TD is joined by Ailish Forde, Global Business Development Manager, Bord Bia, leading a delegation of 14 Irish dairy, meat and seafood exporters consumer foods prepared during the trade mission to Dubai.

Bord Bia’s new three-year strategy sets a target of €380 million in Irish food and drink exports to the wider Middle East region by 2025, led by dairy and consumer foods. In this plan, Ireland will target exports of over €100 million to Saudi Arabia and €85 million to the United Arab Emirates by 2025.

Ireland exports agri-food products to over 180 countries worldwide, reaching €13.5 billion in 2021. The industry-led strategy for agri-food sector growth, Food Vision 2030, provides a roadmap ambitious and clear plan for the development of the sector and its objective is to increase this value to 21 billion euros by 2030.

Bord Bia has identified the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia) as priority markets in the region, together accounting for 50% of current Irish trade in the Gulf region. In 2021, exports to the Middle East were estimated at €311 million, led by dairy products and dairy ingredients (€272 million), followed by consumer prepared foods (PCF) at €21 million. euros. Skimmed milk powder (FFMP) and infant food are the largest categories within dairy products, while PCF is dominated by ice cream, juice and meal solutions across the Middle East.

Leading the trade mission, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, said: “Ireland’s Food Vision 2030 strategy sets a strong ambition for future growth in the value of Irish agri-food exports to €21 billion by 2030, based on our premium, safe and produced food products. in a sustainable way, with family farms as the foundation of our food system. . The Gulf region’s current market dynamics, including high GDP and increased consumer purchasing power, will make it an increasingly important market for our export-oriented food industry.

Gulfood: Strengthening the presence of Irish food brands in the UAE market

Beginning the first trade mission of Bord Bia – the Irish Food Board – to the Gulf region since the start of the pandemic, the delegation will visit Irish exporters attending Gulfood, the largest annual food, drink trade show and hospitality in the region, where Bord Bia has showcased leading Irish food and drink brands every year since 2015.

The main objective of the trade mission is to introduce Bord Bia’s three-year trade strategy in both markets to help generate business opportunities for Irish dairy and PCF exporters in the Middle East, improve the engagement of government-to-government in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and enhancing Ireland’s reputation as a trusted supplier and business partner for the highest quality, sustainably produced food and drink products.

Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said, “The Middle East region represents high potential growth opportunities for Irish food and drink producers, a market that values ​​high quality products and where Ireland is renowned for its excellence in producing sustainably produced products. With the strong export performance in 2021, we are prioritizing the growth of this market, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which account for 50% of all our exports to the region. Bord Bia’s Middle East strategy to be announced next week as part of the trade mission will provide a roadmap for our ambitions over the next week to significantly increase Irish exports. Sustainability will be at the heart of all Bord Bia’s work over the next three years and strengthening sustainability is a strategic enabler for the industry.

Supporting UAE consumers with sustainable food consumption

For the opening of the Expo 2020 theme week on Agriculture, food and livelihoods, Bord Bia will host a seminar in the Irish pavilion outlining Ireland’s capabilities in sustainability, traceability and food safety. This event, open to the public, will include two round tables focusing on sustainability and food security. The event highlights Ireland’s commitment to being a global leader in sustainable food systems, with an introductory speech by Minister McConalogue TD, followed by two panel discussions.

Organized in cooperation with the Irish Embassy in the United Arab Emirates and Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI), Bord Bia will host government and agency officials, food safety managers and other food safety sector stakeholders and food safety from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

According to a recent survey by Bord Bia, consumers in the United Arab Emirates are leading the way globally in prioritizing sustainability as a food and beverage mandate. The Irish Food Board explored shopping habits in 13 countries to better understand how different markets are reacting to these changes. UAE consumers have shown growing interest in natural foods, supported by the understanding that natural products are the healthier choice. Nearly 60% (57%) of participants agreed that product naturalness influences their grocery choices, the highest of any market.

Linked to sustainability, consumers in the UAE are also increasingly aware of food quality and traceability and, therefore, willing to pay more for quality-assured food and beverage products, at high nutritional value and natural. Nearly a third (29%) of beef consumers in the UAE are willing to pay more for quality-assured beef, ahead of all other attributes. In addition, half of UAE participants (47%) affirmed their interest in natural dairy products, and a remarkable 84% of UAE consumers confirmed that they make an effort to limit their consumption of artificial additives, which is clearly higher than the world average of 75%.

Kieran Fitzgerald, Regional Director – Middle East, for Bord Bia, said: “These survey results suggest that changing consumer behavior caused by the effects of the pandemic can no longer be considered a passing fad, particularly in the Middle East. The food and beverage industry needs to pay attention to consumer demands more than ever, and it is becoming increasingly clear that there is an incredible opportunity for food producers looking to expand internationally to embrace the sustainability at the heart of their business strategy. This greater interest in food quality indicates that the UAE market is likely to make its selections based on nutritional values ​​and naturalness of products. This reinforces that companies must strive to educate their consumers about their sustainability agenda and broader food production practices in order to be a successful business.

Strengthening Irish presence in the UAE food sector

Coinciding with the trade mission to the United Arab Emirates, the delegation hosted several Irish trade announcements. Minister McConalogue and Ailish Forde, Director of Global Business Development, Bord Bia will unveil their latest award-winning chef who will join the UAE chapter of the Chefs’ Irish Beef Club (CIBC), launched in 2017 and the first outside of Europe .

Established in 2004, CIBC – led by Bord Bia – is an international platform with nine chapters around the world in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates, with over 90 chefs serving as ambassadors. premium Irish meat and dairy products. Irish grass-fed beef is known to be among the best in the world and is widely recognized by top chefs who are part of CIBC by invitation only.

As part of the trade mission, Global Business Development Manager, Bord Bia, Ailish Forde will also speak at the launch of the Spinneys sustainability themed promotion, Sustainable Irelandto showcase Irish brands and their participation in Origin Green, Ireland’s national food and drink sustainability programme.

Spinneys, a high-end grocery retailer in the UAE, which accounts for 4-5% of the overall market share, stocks many Irish brands in its stores across the UAE. Spinneys recently launched its “Farm to Fork” program, which aims to educate children about healthy eating. This, combined with Spinneys commitment to sourcing sustainably, creates strong partnerships with Irish suppliers and Bord Bia.

Bord Bia is the Irish government agency which manages the promotion, business development and marketing of the Irish food, drink and horticulture industry. Based in Dublin, Bord Bia supports the domestic and international ambitions of Irish food, beverage and horticulture businesses through its highly focused organizational structure and network of offices in EMEA, Asia and the United States. -United. The Dubai office is headed by Kieran Fitzgerald, newly appointed Middle East Regional Director for Bord Bia.

© Press release 2022

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