Bord Bia introduced key Middle East journalists to Origin Green in July when they visited Ireland for the first time to learn about sustainable food production. These key opinion formers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – one of the most sophisticated consumer markets in the Middle East – saw first-hand how the Origin Green programme operates on farm, with retailers and among food producers. Their reports will inform buyers and consumers in the Gulf region which currently imports almost €250 million of Irish food products and is Bord Bia`s hub for the greater Middle East region.
Michael Hussey Market Manager for the Middle East said that this visit is evidence of the increased interest among the media and agri-food industry in the region in the growth of sustainable food production, driven by consumers.
“The UAE is leading the way in sustainability in the region. In an affluent market where food safety and food security are key concerns, consumers are becoming more aware of the need to purchase sustainably produced food.
Exports from Ireland to the UAE for the first 6 months of 2017 were up by 5% to €30.7 million and we expect this to grow over the coming years as a result an increased demand from our customers here for sustainably produced Irish food following the recent trade mission led by Minister Creed and Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy.
The region is set to become an increasingly important market for Irish food and drink as exporters seek markets outside of the UK and other traditional markets. The current market dynamics, including a population expected to exceed 50 million by 2020, will continue to play a significant role in the surge in demand for food and food imports, in particular across the dairy and meat categories” he said.
The journalists from the Khaleej Times and the Dubai Eye radio station received an in-depth briefing on Origin Green and a tour of Bord Bia`s Thinking House in addition to a dairy sector briefing from ORNUA. They then followed a targeted itinerary to ensure they get the full experience of Origin Green at farm and food producer levels and witness the pride of the farmers and food producers in what is a the only national sustainability programme in the world.
The visit follows on from the successful trade mission to the Gulf region in February led by Minister Creed after which Bord Bia attracted to Ireland key food buyers and the leading food and beverage distributor in the region.
This is one of 13 inward visits organised by Bord Bia for 2017 aimed at informing food buyers in our global markets about the point of differentiation that Origin Green can give them as they face the challenge of meeting consumer demands for sustainably produced food. As well as the target markets in the EU and the Middle East a media visit from the US is also planned for later in the year.
Irish food and drink exports to the Gulf States are estimated to worth some €250 million, an increase of 26% in the past five years. It is widely regarded as a ‘foodie region’ with an 80-90% import a perfect fit for Irelands food export figure of 90% of production. At present 50 Irish food and drink brands which can be found on supermarket shelves in the U.A.E.
Earlier in the year Bord Bia coordinated Ireland’s largest ever presence at Gulfood, the world’s biggest annual food and hospitality show taking place in Dubai. The Origin Green Ireland pavilions, which included some 21 exporters across dairy, meat and consumer food, experienced a significant increase in participation of over 60% on last year, with a waiting list in place. It attracted nearly 100,000 food buyers from around the world. The trade show spans more than 1 million square feet of exhibition space allocated to 5,000 international exhibitors.
To find out more about Origin Green click here.