11 April 2018
By Elaine Murphy
This week, over 70 international buyers visited leading food suppliers in Cork, as part of Bord Bia’s Marketplace International. In total, almost 550 food buyers, from 50 countries around the world, will participate in the week-long trade development event, the largest of its kind ever to take place in Ireland. Bord Bia is targeting €40 million worth of new business as a direct result of this year’s event.
In Cork, Dawn Meats Charleville hosted 17 meat buyers from China while 24 Chinese dairy buyers were hosted by both Carbery in Ballineen and Teagasc in Moorepark. In Mitchelstown, 22 dairy buyers from North America visited Ornua in Kerrygold Park and Dairygold Co-op.
Seafood buyers from Africa, the Middle East, North America and Eastern Europe visited Keohane Seafoods and Good Fish in Cork city. While buyers from Germany, Russia, South East Asia and the Middle East enjoyed a visit to an organic mussel farm on the Beara peninsula operated by Kush Seafoods and a guided tour Bantry Bay Seafoods.
These are just five of 28 different 3-day group itineraries organised and hosted by Bord Bia for Marketplace International this week (Sunday 8th April to Friday 13th April). The sector-focused itineraries will allow buyers to see Irish farms, factories, retail stores and manufacturing facilities all around the country to showcase the very best of the Irish food and drink industry.
The buyers include representatives from Australia, Algeria, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, UAE, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Interest from UK buyers has remained strong, with close to 50 in attendance. The registered buyers represent every sector of the industry including for dairy, beef, lamb, pigmeat, alcohol, seafood, prepared foods, grocery, bakery, confectionary & snacks and specialty foods.
On Thursday, all international visitors will reconvene in the RDS Dublin, for 5,000 pre-arranged one to one meetings with 185 Irish food companies.
Speaking in advance of the event, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said, “Marketplace is an invaluable opportunity for Irish food and drink companies to meet with a large number of international buyers face to face. It is our prime platform for showing international buyers’ first-hand what makes our products world-class. Initiatives such as Marketplace have enabled the sustained growth of Irish food and drink exports for the past eight years, culminating in a record value of €12.6bn in 2017”.
A team of Bord Bia specialists, including its network of 13 international offices, have been preparing for Marketplace for over six months, including providing a comprehensive training programme for the 185 companies to ensure they were adequately prepared for this year’s showcase. Through a series of training workshops, Irish companies availed of advice on choosing export markets, logistics, and sales pitch techniques. Companies will then get to put these skills into action in pre-scheduled, ‘speed-dating’ style meetings with the buyers in the RDS.