After a year-and-half of virtual meetings with Irish food customers abroad, Bord Bia has announced a return to in-person trade show activity across Europe for the autumn.

This includes a visit to the Anuga trade fair in Cologne, Germany, one of the biggest events on the agri-food trade show calendar.

The Anuga visit will be led by Minister of State for new market development Martin Heydon. Anuga, which takes place every two years, is a “crucial landmark” event for the global food industry.

This year, it takes place from October 9 to 13. 11 Irish food and drink businesses will participate under the Bord Bia Origin Green stand in the meat and dairy halls at the event.

Several of the participating companies have attained Origin Green ‘Gold Membership’, highlighting, Bord Bia said, “the ever increasing importance of sustainability and the efforts by some leading exporters to do more in this space”.

This year, Anuga is focusing on “mega trends”, including sustainability, health, convenience and digitalisation.

Bord Bia hopes that the trade visit will “support the accelerated export-led recovery of Irish food and drink businesses in the Eurozone while also promoting the €13 billion sector to international buyers”.

Germany is Ireland’s fifth largest export market for food and drink, with an estimated export value of €801 million in 2020 and an overall growth of 4%.

Other key trade events where Bord Bia will have (or have had) a presence this year are:

  • Sirha – Lyon, France, just completed this week;
  • Conxemar – Vigo, Spain, October 5-7;
  • Tuttofood – Milan, Italy, October 22-26;
  • FiEurope – Frankfurt, Germany, November 30 to December 2;
  • PLMA – Amsterdam, the Netherlands, December 14-15.

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said: “As the world reopens, the opportunity to meet face to face at international trade shows and drive business is incredibly important.

“These trade shows and trade visits are critical for the export-led recovery of the sector, not least because of the business potential involved for Irish companies trading within the EU, which represents 34% of total Irish food and drink exports,” McCarthy added.

Minister Heydon commented: “Structured engagements, both virtual and in person, are more important than ever. They offer a real opportunity to communicate the premium quality of Ireland’s food and drink offering, to the benefit of all those along the supply chain, particularly farmers as our primary producers.”

Virtual events will remain a “key part” of Bord Bia’s trade engagement.

This week, Bord Bia and 68 Irish prepared consumer food companies are hosting over 350 virtual trade meetings with more than 100 trade buyers from all across Ireland and Britain, including senior representatives from M&S Ireland, Aramark and Tesco.