Bord Bia: 30 trade shows and 4 trade missions on the cards for 2019

A busy 2019 is in store for Bord Bia, with 30 trade show attendances planned and at least four trade missions in the pipeline, according to CEO Tara McCarthy.

In the shorter term, the state body will be accompanying Irish ministers on key trade missions to Malaysia, Indonesia and China over the next few weeks, as efforts to diversify markets intensify ahead of the UK’s intended departure from the EU next March.

McCarthy spoke to AgriLand at a trade reception being held by Bord Bia at one of its Origin Green stands at SIAL on Monday evening (August 22).

Currently ongoing, SIAL is being held in the French capital of Paris, featuring 7,200 exhibitors from 110 different countries, with 160,000 visitors expected to attend throughout.

Below is a snapshot of the event, captured by Fennell Photography.

The event kicked off on Sunday (October 21) and will finish tomorrow (Thursday, October 25).

Brexit impact limitation efforts

McCarthy said that extensive research had been conducted in assisting Irish companies to minimise impacts from Brexit, the Bord Bia’s Brexit Barometer survey playing a key part in this.

“When we looked at the Brexit Barometer, 85% of the respondents to the barometer said that they were looking to diversify and look at new markets.

“76% of them already had in the last 12 months written new business in the non-UK market. So from our perspective, we looked at the kind of services that we needed.

Many people still believe that there are good opportunities in the UK, and I would always stress that we are not walking away from the UK at all.

“We are a very well-positioned industry to supply to the UK, and we would help and work and support our companies to write any new business that they have for the UK,” the CEO assured.

She added, however, that companies must look to protect themselves from a risk prospective, which is the reason for diversification.

Market prioritisation

“When we’re looking at that diversification, there are multiple strands to that journey. We started it off with market prioritisation to understand where we should focus.”

This involved investing in insight and market data to ensure the right markets are selected for different Irish exports, with market prioritisation key in narrowing potential countries down to a “top 15” and then “top five” trading destinations for specific commodities, such as meat, dairy, prepared consumer foods, seafood or beverages.

The next step is actually going to the selected markets, McCarthy said.

“Going to that market can be in a number of different ways.

It can be going to trade missions – and that’s particularly when we’re looking to the east, where Government endorsement is absolutely key in impressing every member of the supply chain really.

“And that’s what we do when we’re looking at Indonesia and Malaysia – literally next Saturday when Minister Creed and the department will be leading a trade mission supported by ourselves, and that will be very much looking at dairy.

“But also then, the following Saturday, we’re going to be in China with Minister Doyle – and there we’ll be exhibiting our beef and dairy for the Chinese market.”

The same week will see seafood also exhibited in China in continued efforts to write new business, the CEO explained.

We will be at 30 different trade shows next year. We will be on at least four trade missions throughout the world, but that trade mission choice of destinations will be dictated by that market prioritisation investment that we’re making.

“So that will mean more trips to China; more trips to the east – but it will also mean trips to Europe as well to make sure that we’re capturing right across the sectors the opportunities that we believe are there. But we’ll still be investing in the UK,” McCarthy concluded.