Bord Bia aims to drive Irish exports in central Europe with Polish base

Bord Bia aims to drive exports of Irish food and drink to eleven targeted central European markets with its new office in Warsaw, Poland.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited the office today, along with Bord Bia Chief Executive Tara McCarthy and a number of Irish exporters.

The delegation highlighted the value of Ireland as a source of sustainable produced food and drink to importers during a business event in the Embassy of Ireland, hosted by Ambassador Gerard Keown.

Markets in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia will be targeted with the opening of this new Bord Bia office.

Bord Bia’s presence in the region would assist exporters build enduring business relationships, according to An Taoiseach.

“This comes at a time when Ireland’s food and drink industry is seeking new premium markets for food and drink in order to meet the targets of FoodWise 2025.

Our food and drink industry has always embraced the challenge of finding new markets for our produce, exporting over 80% of what we produce.

“From this strategic location Bord Bia can pave the way to new and valuable markets reaching to the eastern borders of the EU with a combined population of 103m and a retail market worth €177 billion.

“While our three largest markets in the region currently absorb 85% of exports, there exists huge potential for further growth,” he said.

Irish exports to Poland continue to grow

Poland is Ireland’s eighth largest EU market for food and drink with exports reaching an estimated €185m in 2016, an increase of 15% on the previous year, Bord Bia figures show.

The decision to establish an office in Poland followed considerable research into potential growth in Poland itself and its location as a gateway to central Europe, McCarthy said.

“This office opens at a time when many Irish companies are looking to new opportunities while still holding their positions in traditional markets.

The value of trade to Poland has almost trebled over the last five years with dairy, beverages and prepared foods, all showing strong growth in 2016.

“The potential for further growth here and in emerging EU markets will increase their attractiveness to exporters and the increasing awareness of Origin Green will offer important assurances to buyers on sustainable sourcing.

“Bord Bia Warsaw will provide exporters with the resources, consumer insight and market intelligence necessary to help them maximise opportunities in these markets,” she said.

Central and Eastern Europe accounts for over a quarter of a billion euro of Irish food and drink exports, figures show.

The three largest markets, Poland, Czech Republic and Latvia, account for almost 85% of this trade which has doubled in value in the past five years, according to Bord Bia.

The key sectors driving growth of Irish exports in the region are prepared foods, driven by fat filled milk powders in Poland, meat which is driven by beef and pigmeat in Poland and beverages which is driven by Latvia and Czech Republic.

Polish Market

Figures indicate that the Polish food and drinks retail sector was worth €42 billion in 2015.

Spending in this sector is expected to rise by more than 10% annually between 2017 and 2020, as consumer confidence strengthens due to the brightening job market and as disposable income levels continue to grow, Bord Bia believes.

Figures show that Irish beef is growing in the Polish market, doubling in value over the last five years to €9m.

Meanwhile, exports of Irish dairy to Poland in 2016 were estimated at €18m by Bord Bia, an increase of 57% compared to the previous year.

The bulk of dairy exports to Poland are made up of cheese for dairy ingredients and industrial use, according to Bord Bia.