Farm Ireland

Friday 23 March 2018

Thinking outside the box to expand Ireland's €11bn food export sector

Bord Bia chief Aidan Cotter. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Bord Bia chief Aidan Cotter. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

'The Thinking House', Bord Bia's new state-of-the-art research centre is set help Irish exports compete in a increasingly competitive, global market-space.

The new creative hub, based at Bord Bia's headquarters in Dublin, offers the nation's food, drink and horticulture industry unrestricted access to the latest global trends, research, consumer insights and industry innovations for the first time.

As the industry prepares to virtually double its exports, to reach the €19bn target set by FoodWise2025, Aidan Cotter, Bord Bia Chief Executive, believes The Thinking House will play a "transformative role" in developing and differentiating its offerings.

"Our food and drink exports have grown by more than 50pc over the past six years, now at just short of €11bn," he said.

"Success can only come from having a deep understanding of the needs of consumers and the insights that will enable us to create, demonstrate, and effectively communicate relevant points of difference" he added.

The new centre, which cost €350,000 to develop, will be managed by Helen King, Director of Consumer Insight and a team of 12 professionals, with backgrounds ranging from psychology to librarianship.

"We have three professional librarians with many databases so they can do targeted, tailored searches. If you want to find out about the cheese market in Yugoslavia they will give the relevant information you need to make the right decision, tell you the size of the opportunity, let you know who your consumer is and what your price should be," said Ms King.

The creative space also includes a 'Trends Zone' to highlight the latest food and drink innovations from around the world and a Packaging and Branding gallery to promote best in class design.

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The "Living Room" space and adjacent viewing room, will allow Bord Bia, and the industry, to conduct qualitative focus and discussion groups, equipped with audio, video recording and live streaming capacity.

An innovative working space, with room for up to 70 people, will also be available for the industry to use for workshops, meetings and presentations.

"We have a vision for the food and drink industry, we want it to commercialise everything that is being done and we want it to grow and we believe The Thinking House will help that because it will help create stronger brands, it will work with companies to understand who their customer is and how they can actually package what they sell, and sell more," said Ms King.

Brands that already transformed and evolved their identity and shelf space through Bord Bia's Insight and Innovation team include: Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin (pictured left), Flahavans Granola and Waldron Meats.

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