Bord Bia targets €1bn food sales to Germany

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy
Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Bord Bia wants food and drink exports to Germany to increase to €1bn in five years as part of a Brexit diversification strategy. German trade with Irish food companies is currently worth €724m.

On a trade mission this week, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and Bord Bia will meet the chief operating officer of Metro, one of the largest global retailers with a turnover of €13.5bn and 800 stores in 25 countries.

"We would view Metro as a potential strategic partner for Ireland, given their scale," said Tara McCarthy, chief executive of Bord Bia.

Germany is already the fifth biggest market for Ireland's food exports and the third largest for dairy, while Kerrygold is the number one branded butter. "Consumers in Germany are prepared to pay a little more for Irish product and they do that already," she said.

McCarthy said the aim of the trade mission was to hold meetings at the highest level to highlight what Ireland's food industry is capable of delivering to companies such as the Metro group, not just in Germany but globally.

At present the group has a relationship with Ireland on a country by country basis. "What we're trying to do now is look at them as a global account," she added.

Bord Bia recently met with Metro in China.

The Metro meeting in China had been "to understand what their ambitions were for beef in that market".

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The Netherlands and UK will also be visited. In the Netherlands, Creed and McCarthy will meet the CEO of Jumbo, which has 650 stores globally and 80,000 employees, and Albert Heijn, the Netherlands' largest retailer.

Bord Bia is doubling its head-count in the country with a new Schiphol-based office.

While Germany and the Netherlands are on track to become €1bn markets, both are well behind the UK's €4bn trade level.

However, McCarthy said Ireland's approach was giving it an advantage at the moment.

"We're quite unusual. It's rarely that we would celebrate being small but actually one of the brilliant things about being a small country in some ways is that we're actually a very joined up country," she said.

"We'll be going into Metro with a solution that isn't just the beef category but actually giving them opportunities to engage internationally with us across a breadth of products."

Sunday Indo Business

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