Some 70% of the Irish online spend last year went out of the country and while Irish consumers are very technically savvy, Irish companies have to catch up with consumers, according to Google. In response, Bord Bia has joined up with online giant Google to help 21 Irish food and drink companies improve their online presence.

The move, which will see the 21 companies receive training from Google on how to promote and grow their businesses online, was launched today in Google, Dublin.

According to Cera Ward, Google, today’s consumers are hyper informed and often know the ingredients and provenance of products before they buy them. She said the internet is now the new cooking companion and people cook with ipads in hand. With 73% of the Irish online spend going abroad, she said there are huge opportunities for Irish companies.

Google is focussing on food and beverages this year, she said, and as part of this it is working with Bord Bia on the new training programme to help Irish food businesses maximise their online presence.

According to Bord Bia research, some 94% of Irish consumers in Ireland have shopped online. However, only 1.3% of Irish grocery shopping is done online. This compares to 5% of the UK grocery shop. Despite this, the research also found that many consumes are using devices such as smartphones and tablets to research their purchases beforehand.

The companies being supported by Bord Bia include Glanbia, Dawn Meats, Dawn Farms, Barry’s Tea, Glenisk, Kerrygold, as well as Lily O’Briens, Ballymaloe Foods and Cuisine de France.