So what do the Americans think of Irish beef and are they willing to pay more?
Bord Bia has spent the last two years conducting extensive research into US consumer perceptions of Irish beef, according to Karen Coyle Bord Bia Office Manager in New York.
Coyle said because Irish beef has not been in the market for such a long time Irish beef was ‘new news’ to the US consumer in fact many did not associate Ireland with Irish beef production at all.
“Dairy yes and beer but, beef was new news,” she said.
Coyle said when they explained to US consumers how Irish beef is produced they were extremely interested to taste the difference and to taste what was beef was like as a result of Ireland’s unique farming methods.
“It’s no surprise to anybody that Ireland’s green image was universally understood and very much valued by the US consumer,” Coyle said.
It was also very much a point of difference, she said, between us and our competitors.
On the important point of the US consumers willingness to pay more for Irish beef Coyle was very positive.
“When we explained to the US consumer the features and the values of Irish beef they were absolutely open to paying a premium for our product,” she said.
Bord Bia also undertook taste tests comparing Irish beef with US conventional beef and also US grass-fed beef.
According to Coyle, the key take away from this is that while Irish beef shared many of the same characteristics in terms of production and values as US grass fed beef, the taste was much more superior according to US consumers.
When Irish beef was tested with US conventional beef it also staked up extremely well, she said.
“Irish beef was really the best of both worlds,” Coyle said.