CHICAGO – “Food is our oil,” said Tara McCarthy, managing director of Bord Bia, The Irish Food Board, April 25 at Food Evolution Chicago: A Forum on the Future of Food. “Food is our natural resource. Ireland is very “green”.

Green relates to pastures as well as the country’s sustainable development efforts. It’s also a nod to the government’s financial investment in attracting food companies and entrepreneurs from around the world to set up shop in Ireland. The event, organized by Enterprise Ireland, highlighted Ireland’s history in the agricultural sector and how global leaders in agribusiness are increasingly turning to Irish agricultural tech innovators to find solutions. This is what delegates describe as the “Irish advantage”.

“The Irish food ecosystem is making major strides in food innovation with a focus on sustainability, thanks to a unique set of conditions including high quality raw materials, world-class research and development facilities, a skilled workforce and a government that invests in innovation. said Alexa Toomey, head of foreign direct investment in dairy, beverages and food for Enterprise Ireland. “If your business is all about the evolution of food, Ireland is the place to go. The Irish government can provide strong support at every step of your journey, while an ecosystem of local businesses, multinationals and research institutes offer exciting partnership opportunities.

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said: “Supporting businesses on their journey to growth means supporting local and national economies, as well as creating jobs for future generations. Our mission is to help accelerate the development of world-class Irish businesses to achieve leading positions in global markets, and that means supporting Irish founders and their hard-working teams from the start.

Irish food and drink exports reached over 180 countries in 2021. Sales were valued at €13.5 billion, an increase of 4% on 2020.

“Our industry has shown remarkable resilience and solidarity in the face of the difficult business environment caused by COVID-19 over the past two years, which has had a huge impact on the retail sectors. retail and foodservice,” Ms. McCarthy said.

Last March, as part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Bord Bia presented a basket of ‘Origin Green’ verified Irish food and drink products to First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during a visit to the White House. Kerrygold butter was one of the many items in the giveaway.

Origin Green is Ireland’s pioneering food and drink sustainability program that operates nationwide. It unites government, the private sector and the entire supply chain, from farmers to food producers to the food service and retail sectors. The program is the only national food and beverage sustainability program in the world and enables the industry to set and achieve measurable sustainability goals that respect the environment and serve local communities more effectively.

“For individual Irish businesses to succeed in the marketplace, we know it is essential that awareness of Ireland as a source of quality, sustainable ingredients is amplified,” said Ms McCarthy. “Eighty percent of the companies we work with said Origin Green gives them a business advantage.”

Origin Green works with over 55,000 farms and over 300 Irish food and drink companies to prove and improve the sustainability of the food they produce to meet the ever-changing needs of global customers and consumers. Verified Origin Green members represent 90% of Irish food and drink exports and over 70% of the retail market. The Origin Green logo is a business-to-business logo and cannot be used on a product. It can be used by verified members in business-to-business communications and in materials to highlight their participation in the Origin Green program to their customers and suppliers.

This is different from the Bord Bia Quality Mark, which is a logo used on food products that have been produced and processed by Bord Bia Certified Members. This means it can only be used by food producers and processors who have been independently audited and found to meet the appropriate Bord Bia quality assurance standards.

Kerrygold products are Origin Green and Bord Bia certified. Stephen McDonnell, Sales Director of Ornua, the Irish cooperative that produces Kerrygold butter and cheese, explained how Irish brand awareness has made Kerrygold the No. 2 butter brand in the United States since its soft launch in 1999 The butter is bright yellow, the result of cows grazing grass rich in beta-carotene. It also produces what some describe as “movie popcorn wealth.” Its dense, malleable composition — it’s at least 82 percent butterfat compared to most U.S.-made butters that are only allowed to be 80 percent fat — makes it spreadable right out of the fridge.

“Ornua is a multinational company that has developed work here around the world,” said Mark Fenelon, professor and head of the food research program at the Moorepark Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Center, which is managed by Teagasc, an agency of State. “It started with researching cheese making and ended with building a brand new factory in Saudi Arabia.

“We are the only place in the world where multinationals can take research from ground to finished product in one place. »

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