‘We’re telling our customers that Ireland is the only gig in town’ – McCarthy

Part of Bord Bia’s marketing response to Brexit it to tell Ireland’s current customers in export markets that we are the “only gig in town” in terms of a reliable and trustworthy source of food.

That’s according to its chief executive Tara McCarthy, who spoke to AgriLand earlier today following the launch of the Bord Bia Export Performance and Prospects Report 2020/2021.

“The most obvious change is that there is a disruption to the seamless engagement we had previously,” McCarthy pointed out, while also highlighting that Brexit did not occur “in a vacuum” but happened in the context of the Covid-19 disruption.

There has been a ‘gastro-nationalisation’ that has happened, not because of Brexit, but because of Covid.

“What we’ll be looking at is a change in the competitive landscape that we’re going to have to learn and get used to.”

“What we are doing our utmost on is to prove to our current customers that there is no reason to change, and that’s by building trust,” McCarthy pointed out.

“The consumer trusts no-one more than Ireland. And we say that at every opportunity with customers we can,” The Bord Bia chief executive stressed.

Consumers are looking for things they can trust at the moment. They’re looking for ‘reliable’; they’re looking for ‘trustworthy’. We are that.

“We’re giving them reasons to feel it’s too big a risk to move from Ireland. The balance we are trying to achieve is that we are speaking positively and continuously to our customers to make them realise that we are the only gig in town,” she explained.

When it comes to the recovery of market demand from Covid-19, McCarthy noted that this depends on both consumer and economic confidence, as people only go out to eat (and thus spend money in the food services sector) when they have a disposable income, and when they feel safe to do so.

In terms of what priorities exist for Bord Bia in the new year, McCarthy highlighted that investing significantly in digital technologies would be a key part future planning, in order to enhance outreach to potential customers of Irish agri-food.