Irish Minister Charlie McConalogue joins trade mission to Riyadh

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Riyadh In launching Bord Bia’s (the Irish Food Board) new three-year business strategy for the Middle East market, which aims to significantly increase Irish food exports, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and of the Navy, Charlie McConalogue TD, will lead the Irish trade mission to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to boost food exports.

The visit to the Kingdom coincides with the release of new findings from the Bord Bia Saudi consumer survey, which paints an insightful picture of people’s changing behaviors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In survey results commissioned by Bord Bia, he shows that the pandemic has helped Saudi adults place more emphasis on the nutritional content of their food – especially when it comes to engagement with reinforcement references immune. These shifts in more health-conscious behavior correlate with healthier food choices, with nearly 9 in 10 (85%) Saudi shoppers saying a health focus is important in the foods they buy. With 76% claiming to have increased their consumption of food products with immunity-boosting claims such as dairy products. This is good news for Irish dairy exports to the Kingdom, which were valued at 91 million euros last year.

Ireland already exports agri-food products to more than 180 countries around the world, reaching a new record of €13.5 billion in 2021. The industry-led strategy for agri-food sector growth, Food Vision 2030, provides an ambitious and clear roadmap for the development of the sector and its objective is to increase agri-food exports to 21 billion euros by 2030.

Bord Bia has identified the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as key priority markets as it targets significant growth in Irish food and drink exports to the two countries, together accounting for 50 % of current exports. Irish trade to the Gulf States. In 2021, exports to the Middle East were estimated at €311 million, led by dairy products and dairy ingredients (€272 million), followed by consumer foods at €21 million. Skimmed milk powder (FFMP) and infant foods are the largest categories within dairy products, while consumer foods are dominated by ice cream, juices and meal solutions in the Middle East.

Underlining the importance placed on trade with Saudi Arabia, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, said: “The Middle East represents a large and rapidly growing market for Ireland and a market that values ​​quality Irish food and drink. some products. During this trade mission to Saudi Arabia, our aim is to explore the development of closer ties with key partners as we aim to increase food exports to the country while promoting Ireland’s reputation as a source sustainably produced high-quality meat, dairy and other foods. some products. There is huge potential for the Irish food and drink industry in Saudi Arabia and with the support of Bord Bia we will look to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the country.”

More than 6 in 10 Saudi consumers are familiar with Irish food and drink, Ireland seeks to further establish itself in the Saudi market

With Saudi Arabia identified as a priority market offering significant opportunities to increase food exports, Ireland is ambitiously aiming to strengthen the presence of Irish food products in this important market. With exports to Saudi Arabia estimated at just over €100 million in 2021, the new Bord Bia Middle East strategy aims to grow them significantly over the next three years.

80% of Saudi consumers say they are ready to spend more on quality products including fresh meat since the start of the pandemic. With around half (49%) of Saudi consumers reporting the growing importance of ‘natural’ as a criterion for food and drink purchases, due to the pandemic, Irish food producers are well placed to respond to this demand with products recognized worldwide for their superior and natural quality.

This ambitious new regional strategy will contribute directly to Bord Bia’s global strategy which sets the target to help increase the value of Irish dairy exports by 10.5% or €508 million to reach a value of €5.6 billion. euros thanks to investments in the development of markets, including the Middle East. Another key objective of Bord Bia’s three-year global strategy is to help increase the total value of consumer food exports by 14% to reach €2.8 billion by 2025 in priority markets.

Tara McCarthy, Managing Director of Bord Bia, said: “Saudi Arabia is a priority market for Bord Bia as we aim to significantly increase the value of Irish food exports to the country from just over 100 million euros last year. This trade mission to Saudi Arabia will mark the start of an intensified program of activities undertaken by Bord Bia to promote Irish food products and their producers to local partners who value high quality food products. Trade missions like this are a valuable way to raise Ireland’s profile as a food-producing nation and unlock business opportunities for Irish food and drink companies.

During the Saudi leg of the Irish trade mission, Minister McConalogue will meet Hisham Bin Saad Al-Jadhey, CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) to discuss areas of increased cooperation between Ireland and Saudi Arabia .

Focusing more on sustainability is on the rise among Saudi consumers

The pandemic has also contributed to a greater emphasis on reducing food waste in Saudi Arabia, while increasing the emphasis on the importance of longer shelf life. Half (51%) of Saudi consumers are now trying to reduce food waste, more than they were before Covid-19, with 1 in 3 saying they continue to do so. The environmental impact of the food choices they make is top of mind for 4 in 10 consumers. Reducing packaging and plastic is now more important to Saudi consumers when shopping for food.

Almarai welcomes Origin Green Ambassador

The Irish business delegation will visit Almarai, the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company and the largest producer and distributor of food and beverages in the Middle East, with an estimated turnover of €2.4 billion.

With sustainability being a key part of the Saudi Vision 2030, Bord Bia welcomed the announcement that Almarai will host a Origin Green Placement of ambassador in Saudi Arabia. Placed with global companies that play a leading role in sustainability, Origin Green Ambassadors become the link between global business companies and Ireland’s unique Origin Green program as they focus on developing initiatives that focus on durability.

Commenting on Almarai’s welcoming of an Origin Green Ambassador, Tara McCarthy said, “In a world of limited resources, the case for sustainability has become overwhelmingly evident. Within the food industry, it is now recognized as a priority issue. I’m proud to say that Ireland has been a leader in this area over the past decade – since its launch in 2012, Origin Green has put the Irish food and drink industry at the forefront of this global conversation. I am thrilled that Almarai is joining the ranks of the globally leading and successful companies partnering with Origin Green by welcoming ambassadors who help develop sustainability-focused initiatives supported by Bord Bia.”

Bord Bia is the Irish government agency which manages the promotion, business development and marketing of the Irish food, drink and horticulture industry. Based in Dublin, Bord Bia supports the domestic and international ambitions of Irish food, beverage and horticulture businesses through its highly focused organizational structure and network of offices in EMEA, Asia and the United States. -United. Based in the Dubai office, Kieran Fitzgerald, the new Middle East Regional Director for Bord Bia, will look to drive growth in the Middle East region. —SG

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