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Interview

At The Table With: Bord Bia The Irish Food Board

14 May 2021 by Food&HotelAsia

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Can you tell us a little more about Bord Bia?

Bord Bia, which translates to “Irish Food Board” is the Irish government agency responsible for the promotion and marketing of Irish food and drink.  My team work directly with Irish dairy, meat, seafood and beverage producers to help them find partners in SE Asia and grow their exports in this region. For local buyers, this means if you would like introductions to Irish suppliers, information on Irish food, or just to explore opportunities to grow your business with Ireland – you can contact Bord Bia.

What makes Irish dairy products so special?

Grass is key.  Irish cows spend an average 240 days each year on pasture, with 95% of their diet consisting of grass. In fact, Ireland has the longest grass growing season in the northern hemisphere! This grass-based production system gives it is a low cost, low carbon environment close to nature for cows to live and thrive.

Secondly, the wider environment also plays a big role. As a small island on the edge of Europe Ireland benefits from fresh, clean air and year-long rainfall, contributing again to a natural, clean environment for quality food production.

Thirdly, Irish dairy adheres to strict measures to ensure quality, safety and transparency at every stage of the supply chain. In addition to European Union regulations and controls, Ireland also has sustainability program called Origin Green – the first national food and drink sustainability program in the world. This gives assurance to customers in SE Asia that dairy from Ireland is safe, is produced to the highest quality, and is sustainably produced.

What are Ireland’s top dairy exports to Asia?

Dairy is the largest category, especially cheese, butter, UHT milk and cream, and then a wide range of dairy ingredients. These ingredients are for their nutritional and functional properties in a wide range of applications in SE Asia including beverages, bakery, infant and senior and sports nutrition, to name just a few.

What are the top challenges across the Irish dairy supply chain? What initiatives are being taken to resolve them?

Top challenge is awareness – Irish dairy is not so well known in SE Asia, but this is changing. More and more SE Asia producers are realizing the potential from Irish dairy, and the business is growing every year. Actually Irish dairy producers have invested a lot in new technology and research, so have great knowledge in how ingredients can be applied in food and beverages formulations.

With Irish dairy output rising, and consumers across SE Asia expecting more in terms of innovative, delicious, sustainable foods, this a great time for people to find new partners in the Irish dairy industry.

What are some dairy import/export trends you’ve noticed since COVID-19?

One of the big trends before COVID-19 was a growth in Health & Wellness sector, and COVID-19 has really accelerated that trend. Dairy is often used an a food ingredient for its nutritional qualities, so looking ahead there will be opportunities for in SE Asia food brands to use dairy in nutritional products aimed at all life stages, from young to old.

What do you look forward to at FHA Match: Dairy?

At FHA Match we’re looking forward to talking to new companies from across SE Asia who are interested in know more about Ireland and the opportunities for growth and innovation with Irish dairy.

Join Bord Bia at the upcoming FHA Match: Dairy for their session Green Origins: Source Sustainable Dairy from Ireland, 19 May, 14:00, or connect with them virtually to learn more about Irish dairy.

Register as a visitor now for this two-day expert business event to understand smart strategies to cope with the challenges in 2021 and source from leading dairy suppliers. Our AI-powered platform will help you make meaningful connections ahead of time and set your agenda so that during the event you can focus on getting involved during our interactive workshops on resiliency, educative seminars, follow showcases or join private 1-on-1 video calls.

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