Over 30 international food buyers visited Wexford last week as part of Bord Bia's Marketplace International.
Irish Country Meats in Camolin and Slaney Foods in Bunclody hosted 21 meat buyers from Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Germany and North America. In Kilmore Quay, 10 seafood buyers from Africa, the Middle East, North America and Eastern Europe were welcomed to Sofrimar before heading to Errigal Seafoods, for guided tours of their seafood facilities.
These are just two of 28 different three-day group itineraries organised and hosted by Bord Bia for Marketplace International last week. The sector-focused itineraries allowed 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 included 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 represented every sector of the industry including for dairy, beef, lamb, pigmeat, alcohol, seafood, prepared foods, grocery, bakery, confectionery and snacks and specialty foods.
On Thursday, all international visitors will reconvened in the RDS Dublin, for 5,000 pre-arranged one to one meetings with 185 Irish food companies.
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 had spent six months preparing for Marketplace. This preparation included 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.
In total, almost 550 food buyers, from 50 countries around the world, participated 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.