From Brussels to Chicago trade mission for Coveney

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney will be racking up the air miles this week as following on from a key Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday, Minister Coveney departs this morning (Tuesday) for a US trade mission centred in the Chicago area.

The mission provides an opportunity to raise the profile of Ireland as a producer of high quality food, and a number of key events will focus on the promotion of Ireland’s beef and dairy produce in particular.

Minister Coveney will be hosting a major launch event in Chicago to promote the sale of Irish beef in the US. The event is aimed at building awareness and generating excitement among key trade buyers and media in the mid-west area.

The trade mission to the US comes in the wake of criticism of the low level of beef exports to the huge market to date. Figures, which were obtained by Agriland, show that Irish beef exports to the US since January stand at only 31t.

According to Minister Coveney the unique taste and flavour of Irish beef, as well as its assurance of high quality, safety and sustainable production methods, has already proved popular among leading chefs on the east coast.

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Minister Coveney was at the recent extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday

“This evening I look forward to communicating that message in Chicago, which has long been famous as a meatpacking centre, and to building the profile of Irish beef in this important market,” he said.

Minister Coveney will also meet the Global CEO of McDonald’s Corporation, Steve Easterbrook.

This will be an opportunity to cement the strong partnership between McDonald’s and the Irish beef sector, built on Ireland’s commitment to sustainability and the rapidly developing international recognition of Ireland’s Origin Green programme.

Dairy

On dairy, Minister Coveney will be attending a number of significant promotional events for Irish dairy companies Ornua, Glanbia, and Carbery, marking the growing presence of Irish dairy companies in the US.

Referring to the dairy opportunity in the US, Minister Coveney said, these events will be focused not just on traditional dairy products but also on performance nutrition, flavours and ingredients, reflecting the impact of innovation and technology in broadening the offering from Irish dairy processors into premium added value products.

“This is consistent with Ireland’s strategy for the development of its dairy sector and I am confident that this approach can deliver for all parts of the Irish dairy sector,” he said.

‘Access to international markets vital’

Access to international markets provides Irish companies with the kind of business opportunity that will ultimately feed back into a stronger trade balance and employment creation in Ireland, according to Minister Coveney.

“As Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, I am conscious of the need to increase the profile of Ireland and Irish food companies in key markets such as the US.

“I am confident that the work we are doing this week in Chicago, with its strong Irish American identity, will resonate with potential purchasers of Irish food products and raw materials, and with US consumers,” he said.

Market Facts

  • Total Irish dairy exports in 2014 were worth €3.8 billion, with exports to the US of €120m.
  • Overall the US is Ireland’s sixth most important export destination, with exports of €572m last year, of which almost €350m was accounted for by alcoholic beverages (mainly Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur).
  • The total US beef market is estimated at 11m metric tonnes. It is split 60% foodservice / 40% grocery retail (vol). Approximately 10% (volume) is imported. While grass fed / natural / organic beef is a small volume category compared to conventional / grain fed beef, currently accounting for approximately 10% of total volume, it is estimated to be growing at approximately 20%+ per annum.
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