Virtual Trade Mission gets underway amidst fears for Irish produce in post-Brexit Britain

Trade mission will involve a series of high level engagements with key UK retailers and food service suppliers.

Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia addressing a virtual audience of UK and Irish food industry leaders.

Irish food and drink are considered the best alternative to homegrown produce for shoppers in the UK, but half are concerned about the future quality and availability of the food and drink they can buy in a post-Brexit Britain.


The new research from Bord Bia’s ‘Brexit Pulse Survey,’ reveals a strong level of support for Ireland’s food and drink industry from UK shoppers. However, of the 1,000 consumers surveyed, seven in ten UK shoppers are worried about the cost of living and their own personal finances as we edge closer to a no-deal Brexit scenario.


The strength of support for Irish food and drink was evidenced by the fact that 72% of UK beef shoppers said they would miss Irish beef if there was a significant increase in price or limitation on availability.


65% UK butter buyers would miss Irish butter, while 73% UK cheddar buyers would miss Irish cheddar cheese if there was a significant increase in price or limitation on availability.

3 out of 5 regular buyers of mushrooms and whiskey would also miss having continued access to Irish options.


Great Britain Virtual Trade Mission 


Off the back of the survey’s findings, Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) are undertaking an intensive two day Great Britain Virtual Trade Mission, starting today which will be aimed at safeguarding Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture exports to the UK at a time of “distinct challenge.”


The virtual trade mission will involve a series of high level engagements with key UK retailers and food service suppliers including Asda, Sainsburys, Starbucks, McDonalds and Deliveroo. 


Bord Bia Chief Executive, Tara McCarthy, said the trade mission is part of Ireland’s strategy to defend the place of Irish food produce on British shelves in the face of impending and profound Brexit impacts.


“This UK trade engagement is crucially timed and underpinned by a true commitment to plan a pathway for growth for Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture producers as we face into the uncertainty posed by major industry challenges.” 


“We are preparing our industry for a new world and there is no doubt that we can, and will, find our way in a post-Brexit Britain."


"We will take encouragement from the fact that 85% of UK shoppers currently choose Irish food and drink produce but we must also prepare for far greater global competition as we seek to strengthen our position in the high value UK market.”


Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue will be engaging with key customers in the UK this week.


The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said our future trading relationship with Great Britain will change from January 1, even in "the most benign" Brexit scenario. 


"Ireland needs to continue to differentiate our food and drink offering in this valuable export market," he said.


"Working alongside Bord Bia, I plan to use these timely engagements to remind our key customers that Ireland remains a strategic and committed supplier of world-class, quality produce to British consumers, who trust Irish produce as a quality and sustainable choice," he finished.


Source: Irish Examiner