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Independent.ie

Sunday 17 December 2017

Organics is now a 'star performer' of EU food sector

Minister Tom Hayes, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and John Liston from the Little Milk Company, Limerick at the Biofach organic show on Nuremberg
Minister Tom Hayes, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and John Liston from the Little Milk Company, Limerick at the Biofach organic show on Nuremberg

Grace Maher

The organic sector will become a major driver of EU food exports over the next five years, Commissioner Phil Hogan has predicted.

Delivering the keynote address at the Biofach organic show in Nuremburg, Germany, Commissioner Hogan said the continuing growth in sales of organic food exports highlighted the potential of the industry.

"In the EU, sales of organic food are up 6pc year on year for the last three years and were worth €22.2bn in 2013. Organics is a star performer and it is my goal for organic to become a leader and driver for EU exports," Commissioner Hogan said.

Each year a number of Irish organic companies join the 2,200 plus exhibitors at Biofach, with the show providing a shop window where producers can display their wares to a wider audience of buyers and distributors in Europe, enabling Irish products to get access into the multiple retail chains.

Sean Galvin from Irish Seaspray, a company based in Connemara producing smoked salmon, said their presence at the show had paid dividends.

"This year Biofach was very successful for us, we signed a contract with Bio-Co-op supplying their 400 organic stores in France, and we also signed a contract to supply a large retailer in Australia," Mr Galvin said.

Distributors

"In practical terms for us this means we will be increasing our production to 600t for 2015 and increasing our workforce from 30 staff on a three-day week to 55 staff working fulltime. So it is obviously hugely important for us to be at Biofach," he said.

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Deirdre Hilliard from Just Foods, based in Cobh, Cork produces organic soups and salads. Currently exporting to Holland she is working with distributors to get into outlets in France and Belgium.

"After participating at Biofach in 2014 we changed our production base and our new facility is BRC accredited, opening a lot more doors for us. There was huge interest in our products, particularly the new Hi-Lo range," said Deirdre.

The Little Milk Company, 11 organic dairy farmers who produce an ever increasing range of products, also exhibited.

John Liston, farming in Croom, Co Limerick and a director in the company said: "We were delighted to be with Bord Bia exhibiting at Biofach. We launched three new products, cream cheese with pesto, cream cheese with sweet red pepper relish and fetagh a Greek style feta cheese made with our Irish organic cow's milk.

"We currently supply into southern Germany and hope to get into northern Germany in the next few weeks.

"The bottom line for us is that buyers liked our products and the price was right for them and us," said Mr Liston. "Interest was up on last year and as a result we hope to expand into Austria and Slovenia."

Iswari Ireland, based in Cork, offer a range of health and superfoods including breakfast mixes, drinks, sprouted food and raw chocolate. They export to Portugal, Italy, France and can now add Belgium and Britain to the list following their Biofach presence.

Niamh O Dwyer owner of the Organic Little One, a baby food manufacturer from Tipperary, finalised a contract with Carrefour, a French multinational retailer to sell her range in Dubai.

gmaher@iogfa.ie

Indo Farming