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According to Kantar Worldpanel, there was a 14% increase in the retail value of strawberry sales to consumers in the 35 to 44-year-old category in the last 12 months compared to the previous year, to reach €8 million. These figures were released during National Strawberry Week which was held in the first week of June. Total annual retail sales of strawberries in Ireland are currently worth €54.7m.

Berries, in general, have enjoyed very healthy growth, with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries showing 20% growth in both value and volume in the last two years. With a total retail value of €133m per year, berries are now the biggest fruit sector by value, bigger than apples, bananas or citrus.

The aim of National Strawberry Week is to grow sales amongst 25 to 45-year-old females. The focus this year was an on a pack sticker with the point of sale material at 130 stores countrywide. 800,000 on-pack peel and reveal stickers gave details of a text-in competition which received 7,000 entries and was backed up by in-store material consisting of posters and shelf talkers. A number of other activities took place, including radio programme sponsorship, press advertising and digital advertising.

A video was produced on strawberries with producers and visitors to Bloom and was loaded onto the Bord Bia YouTube channel, and onto Facebook where it received 50,000 views. ✽


mushroomsThe ‘Just Add Mushroom’ campaign which is being rolled out in the Ireland and UK markets commenced in July 2013 and is worth €2.7m over three years. It will continue into 2016. It is co-funded 50:50 by the EU and producers and marketers in Ireland and the UK. The campaign targets women aged 25 to 45 years old, and also health professionals, mass caterers and children in educational establishments. The most effective means of reaching this target audience is by advertising online and in women’s magazines. The strategy is to increase penetration and frequency of purchase among younger households in the UK and Ireland. The ‘Just Add Mushrooms’ campaign has seen an increase in the volume of sales in the combined markets of 4,900 tonnes in the two years of the campaign to date. The Facebook page for the campaign recently grew to more than 100,000 likes. Planning the next stage of the campaign includes looking at the breakfast meal occasion and how mushroom growers can take advantage of current trends including healthier and more substantive options. ✽


PotatoesThe EU announced recently that the application to the EU by Bord Bia and the (British) Potato Council for co-funding to implement a three-year promotional programme for potatoes in Ireland and the UK was successful. The total marketing fund available over the three years to spend across Ireland, will be €4.6million with Ireland accounting for €1m of this total. The EU will provide €0.5million to Ireland with the balance being funded by the Irish Potato Industry and DAFM (Department of the Agriculture, Food and the Marine). The campaign in Ireland will be targeted primarily at the 22 to 44-year-old age group and will aim to:
Increase frequency of purchase amongst the target audience
Re-engage consumers emotionally with the category so that potatoes are seen as an exciting and relevant addition to the modern world of meal solutions
Inform consumers of the great taste and versatility of potatoes, and expand the range of meals based on potatoes that can be enjoyed
Increase perceptions that potatoes are convenient across a range of traditional, contemporary and international recipes
Build awareness of the added health and nutritional benefi ts of potatoes

The campaign will be launched in October 2015.


Herbs websiteA new website providing information on the cooking and health benefits of herbs was launched in May to mark National Herb Week 2015. It is a collaboration between herb producers (O’Hanlon Herbs and Mc Cormack Farm) and the Irish Register of Herbalists in association with Bord Bia. The website focuses on recipe-driven traffic presented as pictorial and video-based recipes. It includes a full herbs identification profile, a featured herb of the month, a focus on associated health benefits as well as discussions on the traditional usage of herbs. The site also provides a kids’ section, a frequently updated herb blog, and a directory of Irish herbalists contributing articles and information to the website. ✽


The salad potato category has grown in recent years. The market is supplied from both Irish growers and imports. It is estimated that 20,000 tonnes are imported per year. While there are a number of Irish growers supplying some of the domestic market demand for this product, there is scope to increase the volume of home-produced salad potatoes to the domestic market. The production of salad potatoes requires considerable skill and a change of practice if changing from traditional ware potato production, and farmers will require the knowledge and support to enable them to make the necessary changes for a profi table and sustainable future. It is in this context that this initiative between Teagasc, Bord Bia, the IFA and the Potato Industry has been undertaken. The overall purpose of the programme is to increase the level of information to existing growers and ultimately increase the number of salad potatoes grown and available to the market in Ireland. This will involve equipping the industry with the necessary skills and knowledge to sustainably develop their potato enterprises.

The methodology of the project
Run a technology transfer project over the next three years
Regularly meet existing growers through each season at critical times
Develop markets and solutions to extend the window where Irish salad potatoes are available to the market
Provide up to date agronomy detail for growers over the period of the project

Elements of the project include a demonstration farm in Wexford and collaboration set up with SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) with Dr. Stuart Wale to help with technical delivery. Two meetings have taken place to date with key technical areas discussed and demonstrated. For further information contact Michael Hennessy, Teagasc, Oakpark, Co Carlow at


Bloom 2015 took place from 28th May to 1st June in the Phoenix Park, Dublin and was attended by 95,000 visitors. The visitor satisfaction rate for the show remains high at 93%. Bloom provided a highly engaging shop window on Irish amenity horticulture receiving widespread media coverage and stimulating in excess of €6.5m spend over the five days. The wider economic impact will be measured in the weeks to come and it is anticipated that Bloom will stimulate significant spend on the garden related activity. There is a detailed report on Bloom carried in this publication. ✽


A seminar organised by Teagasc and sponsored by Bord Bia focusing on seed potato production, and in particular on the Blackleg disease, took place in Dublin in March. A large attendance of both specialist seed and ware potato growers heard Dr. Barry O Reilly from the Department of Agriculture, Food and & the Marine, address the seminar about the new EU regulations governing seed certification and also the standards seed must pass to qualify in each seed category and grade. The seminar was also addressed by Dr. Jan van der Wolf from Wageningen University in Holland, an international expert on the potato disease, who outlined the importance of Blackleg in an Irish context and gave recommendations to help farmers deal with the disease. Dr. Denis Griffin from Teagasc outlined how growers should focus on specialised seed potato production, rather than dual cropping, and summarised the major steps to achieving this. Poster sessions included information on virus and potato cyst nematode and blight.


Each year Bord Bia makes funding available under the Market Assistance Programme (MAP) to assist companies with their marketing activities. In addition in 2015, a new Step Change Programme (SCP) was introduced to assist a limited number of companies embarking on a new project, to take their business to the next level. In 2015 a total of 39 horticulture applications were approved under the MAP and SCP programmes with the amount approved for Horticulture companies totalling €181,000.


spudloveSpudlove is a joint collaboration between GIY Ireland and Bord Bia which was launched in May and has two key activities – Spud Off competitions and the Spudlove reconnection campaign. The Spud Offs are community organised potato grow and taste test competitions. The aim is to award Ireland’s Golden Potato prize at GROW Fest (GIY’s annual festival) in September. Spudlove is the social media element of the campaign, which is designed to engage a younger demographic in a dialogue about cooking and eating potatoes. The call to action is that people can browse content from and upload their favourite recipes to social media using the hashtag #spudlove. Each week GIY will bestow the title of Spud Lover of the Week to the funniest or best potato related post and they will receive a digital certificate. Bord Bia is sponsoring this initiative, which will create many potato ambassadors around the country as they re-engage people with the important nutritional role of potatoes in the diet, which will help to increase consumption.


GLASThe fifth annual GLAS trade show takes place on Thursday 23rd July in the exhibition centre at the Citywest Hotel in Saggart, Co Kildare. The show which is organised by the Kildare Growers in conjunction with Bord Bia, the main sponsor, continues to grow each year. It is now the premium national tradeshow for amenity horticulture and sportsturf. This year there will be over 110 exhibitors at the show. In 2014 98% of visitors found the day at the show worthwhile while 78% indicated that they would be spending with exhibitors after the show (GLAS Exit survey 2014). For further information go to the website