There is tremendous potential to market the entire island of Ireland as a centre of food excellence, according to Bord Bia Chief Executive Aidan Cotter.
Speaking at the recent annual Deloitte food industry dinner, he also expressed the view that more could and should be done in the future to harmonise the food marketing activities carried out across the island as a whole.
Cotter also pointed out that it was no longer sufficient to claim that a region’s food output is of a superior quality: customers around the world want to see full verification of these assertions.
“This is why we introduced our Origin Green initiative back in 2012. Its prime purpose was to provide the framework around which the Irish food industry can verify that it is the most sustainable in the world,” he said.
“Our key priorities in this regard were a root and branch evaluation of the agri food sector’s Carbon Footprint and the industry’s commitment to sustainable water utilisation. These assessments were undertaken using the most internationally respected standards.”
Cotter went on to explain 80,000 individual farm businesses have been fully carbon foot printed.
“In addition, 400 of our largest food companies have now signed up to Origin Green. And this figure continues to grow.”
Cotter identified Asia, Africa and the Middle East as the key growth markets for Irish food exports over the coming four decades.
“Africa will double its population between now and 2050,” he said.
“This is in total contrast to the population trends for Europe, where we are unlikely to see any market growth at all during the same period. Irish food exports to China have increased tenfold over the past decade. And we want to build on this for the future. The emerging markets of the world represent a tremendous growth opportunity for our food industry, North and South.”