Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, T.D., visited Paris today to carry out a number of engagements in what is Ireland’s third largest food and drink market.
In his address to a Bord Bia organised seminar on insights into the French foodservice market, Minister Doyle highlighted the importance of this market, worth €81billion, and pointed out that “what we have to offer is unique: food and drink produced to the highest standards of safety, traceability, and quality, from an island that has a clean, green, unspoilt image, and now backed up by an independently verified sustainability system – Origin Green”.
The Minister went on to say that “Ireland’s world-class credentials are well regarded by all levels of the food sector here in France, none more so than chefs throughout the French culinary arts industry. We have built a great reputation as a source of premium, safe, sustainable food and drink”, and he strongly encouraged the 15 participating Irish companies present at the seminar to exploit the business opportunities that the French foodservice market offers.
Following his address, Doyle met with a leading global foodservice company to explain Origin Green and to set out what the Irish food and drink Industry can offer to such a company.
Minister Doyle then attended the annual Bord Bia Irish Food and Drink Trade Reception in the Irish Embassy in Paris, where representatives of major French retailers and food service industry, along with over 30 Irish food and drink exporters to France, were present.
Reflecting on 2015, he said “France held its long-standing position as Ireland’s largest Eurozone export market for food and beverages and is now in third place globally. The value of the market was just over seven hundred million euro.” Looking to 2016, the Minister remarked that despite it being another challenging year, “figures for the first 9 months show an increase in the volume of exports of 6% compared to the same period in 2015 for this market”.
In the context of Brexit and the worries that exist about the future of the UK market for Irish food and drink exports, Minister Doyle reminded those present of the position of the French market in a global context: “you, our French customers, remain our most important for lamb, seafood, and artisan beer, you are our second largest customer for beef behind the U.K and third for whiskey behind the US and Germany. On behalf of the Irish Government, I want to assure you all that your loyalty and custom is valued enormously and we hope that it will continue to deepen and grow”.