Irish exporters attend Bord Bia Brexit meeting

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Bord Bia recently held an information session for Irish companies concerned about the recent Brexit vote in the UK. Pic: ©iStock/WINS86
Bord Bia recently held an information session for Irish companies concerned about the recent Brexit vote in the UK. Pic: ©iStock/WINS86

Related tags Bord bia International trade

The Irish food board, Bord Bia, recently brought together more than 180 Irish food and drink exporters and experts from the UK food retail market to share information on the post-Brexit trading landscape.

The event was also used to outline the organization’s measures for supporting companies as they navigate the new trading environment.

The Irish companies received insights from experts on current UK and EU market conditions and currency management. The ensuing panel discussions were designed to help exporters identify future pressure points in their business models that may require attention.

Opening the briefing session, Aidan Cotter, Bord Bia’s chief executive, said the briefing was to explore the implications of Brexit for a market that takes 41% of Irish food and drink exports, valued at €4.4bn ($4.9bn).

Bord Bia measures to support Irish businesses

Cotter, presenting Bord Bia’s support measures for food companies said, “They are focused on assisting companies maintain their competitiveness through providing advice on managing volatility impacts, provision of consumer and market insight, deepening customer engagement and extending market reach.”

Bord Bia said that it will also provide an ongoing online financial outlook resource to ensure companies have the latest forecasts on the evolving currency situation.

Provision of consumer and market insight

Bord Bia runs a number programs for companies entering the UK to help them best position themselves in the market. 

It said that the current UK market specific programs will have their financial, competitive, contractual and regulatory modules strengthened. Additional one-to-one mentoring with UK foodservice and retail experts will be made available to more companies to assist with negotiations and future planning.

Deepening engagement

Bord Bia also said that it will increase its focus on promoting Ireland as a sustainable sourcing opportunity for UK buyers. Utilizing its long-term relationships with UK trade customers, Bord Bia said it will amplify  existing  trade events, “meet the buyer” sessions and pursue opportunities to promote Irish products in the retail and foodservice environment.

UK and EU market perspectives

Brid Cannon, assistant secretary general, Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine presented an overview of potential UK/EU trading relations.

She outlined the timetable for negotiating the UK exit, the subsequent trade agreement framework and the time available to companies to adapt to any new trading environment.

James Walton, chief economist with IGD gave an insight into the macroeconomic implications on the UK grocery market.

Origin Green program

Bord Bia’s Origin Green national sustainability program will also be promoted to customers to give assurances to UK companies post-Brexit, addressing concerns of food security, the environment and sustainability.

In October, Bord Bia will host an Origin Green reception in the Irish Embassy in London with past and current Origin Green ambassadors and their UK-based host companies.

Conscious of possible pressure from imports from a weaker Sterling, Bord Bia’s market development activities on the Irish market are also being reviewed.

Extending market reach

In parallel, Bord Bia will continue to support client companies to overcome the barriers for market diversification through the provision of market and consumer insight and brand guidance, while enhancing market and trade visits, particularly to emerging markets. 

The latter will include in trade missions to Asia and North Africa, and participation at trade fairs, from CIMIE and China Fisheries in China, to SIAL in Paris.

Bord Bia said its strategic priority of developing new routes to market is underlined by the opening of two new offices – in Singapore and Warsaw – in July.

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