As Irish food and drink exports approach a record €9 billion in 2011, the key contribution of Jameson Irish whiskey was recognised when it won the Bord Bia Food and Drink Export Award at a ceremony in Trinity College Dublin recently. In 2010 the iconic brand passed a key milestone selling 3 million cases of whiskey globally and is set to reach 4 million cases by 2012. Meanwhile, Irish Distillers and Pernod Ricard are investing over €100 million in Ireland over the coming 3 years to sustain its rapid expansion.
Congratulating Irish Distillers on the Award, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D. stated that “Irish Distillers has shown huge marketing commitment to Irish Whiskey and its exceptional export performance is to be welcomed not only for the sustained double digit growth in exports, but for the fact that it promotes the Irish identity in more than 120 countries around the world. It is proudly rooted in Irish heritage and tradition and its global reach provides a platform to build awareness and enhance the brand reputation of our entire food and drink industry, a key element of Food Harvest 2020”. Irish Distillers employs 500 people and a further 280 jobs are to be created through the expansion of its Midleton distillery over the next four years. It sources 33,000 tonnes of Irish barley each year, supporting 11,000 acres of farmed land.
Eight Irish companies in all were honoured at the Bord Bia awards ceremony in Trinity College. Speaking at the event, Michael Carey, Chairman, Bord Bia said “in spite of all the challenges we face – it is also probably the most exciting time ever to be in our industry. The increase in exports would be impressive at any time but against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty and our own domestic difficulties it is truly remarkable. Equally remarkable are the achievements of the award winners, who have demonstrated success in areas critical to future growth, from innovation and branding to sustainability and entrepreneurship”.
Kerrygold and Cashel Blue were also honoured with a Special Award in recognition of their co-branding, ‘co-opetition’ initiative in the US market. The Irish Dairy Board, owners of the Kerrygold brand, has recently joined forces with Cashel Blue in a new co-branding and distribution agreement to build brand awareness and market share in the US. Speaking at the event Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia commented “this is an excellent example of co-opetition as a business strategy and how a large multinational exporter can collaborate with a niche player to develop a mutually beneficial brand offering. Kerrygold has added an artisan product to its portfolio while Cashel Blue is leveraging an established international brand with global distribution channels. It’s a win-win situation and we look forward to working with more companies on this exciting new model to develop our exports further.” Bord Bia is actively supporting the principle of co-opetition, where food companies work together to create synergies resulting in cost savings, improved returns and/or increased market distribution.
The dairy sector is expected to contribute as much as half the total growth in Irish food and drink exports this year, growing by well in excess of 20% or €0.5 billion. The US speciality cheese market is estimated to be worth €2.4 billion, accounting for 28% of total US cheese sales. The volume of dairy exports is projected to grow by some 50% once EU quotas are lifted in 2015.
The Food and Drink Industry Awards, held in association with Rabobank, were open to all food and drink products manufactured in Ireland. This year, Bord Bia received a total of 184 award entries across the six categories. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD presented the overall category award winners which included:
- Innovation Award – Natasha’s Living Food for Kale Crunchies, a healthy crisp alternative made from dried locally grown kale
- Domestic Success Award – Flahavan’s, one of Ireland’s leading private companies, Flahavan’s has been milling quality Irish oats for over six generations at the family mill in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford.
- Sustainability Award – Country Crest, a family owned business, situated in north County Dublin. As part of its environment philosophy, Country Crest includes a wind turbine, water recycling, and a wildlife pond. The company aims to be energy self-sufficient by 2015.
- Branding Award – Largo Foods for Tayto, Ireland’s Number 1 crisp and snack brand and Ireland’s 5th largest grocery brand (Nielsen). Over 3 million bags of Tayto are sold in Ireland each week.
- Entrepreneurial Award – Arun Kapil, Managing Director, Green Saffron. In 2007, Arun Kapil set up Green Saffron in Midleton, Co.Cork. The company specialises in premium, farm-fresh whole spices and blends for use in home and professional kitchens.
- Export Award – Jameson
Kevin Knightly, CEO, Rabobank Ireland plc said: “We are delighted to be associated with Bord Bia’s Food and Drink Industry Awards and have been very impressed with the quality of the entries. In these difficult times, it is great to see companies working together to improve business performance. As a cooperative bank we understand the benefits of ‘co-opetition’ and working together to improve returns.”