Irish beef promotion in the US to start in February

The push to promote Irish beef in the US will formally start in early February, according to Bord Bia.

“We are finalising arrangements at the present time,” a Bord Bia spokesperson said.

“Initially our aim will be to target Irish beef at high end restaurant and other elite food service outlets. Two launch events will be hosted by Bord Bia in New York and Washington.

“This will be complemented by political activity involving representatives from the Department of Agriculture in Dublin and their counterparts in the US.”

It is envisaged that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney will lead the Irish deputation to attend the US launch events. The group will include representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Bord Bia and Irish meat plants.

According to Bord Bia, the recent upturn in American beef prices is not a flash in the pan, but is because beef cow numbers in the US are at record low levels.

“It could take between three and five years for US beef output to recover,” the spokesperson said.

“And this is the timeframe that we have in which to effectively promote Irish beef in the US.” In reality, we now have the perfect opportunity to market Irish beef in a market that has the capacity to deliver top-end returns, they said.

Bord Bia also confirmed that it will be promoting the grass fed nature of Irish beef strongly in the US.

It says that there are strong indications that US consumers are prepared to pay a premium price for beef reared under ‘non-feedlot’ conditions. This is giving rise to the expectation that Irish beef can be promoted as a ‘de facto’ organic product, it says.

The total US beef market is estimated at 11m metric tonnes per annum: 60% foodservice/40% grocery retail (on a volume basis). Beef prices in the US are currently in the region of €4.50/kg, which is a record level. This represents a 37% year-on-year increase.