Over 180 Irish food and drink exporters attend Bord Bia’s BREXIT Briefing
~ New UK and EU landscapes explained ~
~ Support measures for exporters outlined ~
Bord Bia today brought together over 180 Irish food and drink exporters and experts from the UK food retail market to share information on the post BREXIT trading landscape and to outline the organisation’s measures for supporting companies as they navigate the new trading environment. (Please see Notes to Editor for Agenda)
The Irish companies, who had highlighted the need for information in Bord Bia`s post-BREXIT survey, received insights from experts on current UK and EU market conditions and currency management. The ensuing panel discussions were designed to help exporters identify future pressure points in their business models that may require attention.
Opening the briefing session, Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia said, “The purpose of the briefing is to explore and begin to understand the implications of BREXIT for a market that takes 41% of our food and drink exports, valued at €4.4 billion. Our hope is that today`s event may advance all of our deliberations and if we can`t resolve the uncertainty, and clearly we can`t, that at least we can now begin to learn how we can deal with it and live with it. The learnings from today and our ongoing close contact with our clients will inform our future supports for the sector. ”
UK and EU Market Perspectives
Brid Cannon, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine presented an overview of potential UK/EU trading relations. She sketched out the timetable for negotiating the UK exit, the subsequent trade agreement framework and the time available to companies to adapt to any new trading environment. James Walton, Chief Economist with IGD gave an insight into the macroeconomic implications of the BREXIT on the UK grocery market and John Fahey, Senior Economist with John Sheils, Senior Relationship Manager, both from AIB dealt with the immediate concern of companies in relation to currency exposure.
Two discussion panels concentrating on the UK retail market and on Irish exporters` challenges provided a forum for a high level of engagement with the audience. The UK perspective was examined by James Walton, IGD, Joanna Walker, former retail buyer in the UK and Jon Copestake, Editor and Chief Retail & Consumer Goods Analyst, The Economist. The Irish industry panel then put the exporters` view of the implications of BREXIT with contributions from Larry Murrin, Chief Executive, Dawn Farm Foods, Paul Finnerty, Chief Executive, ABP Food Group and Eoin Donnelly, Managing Director, Lily O’Brien’s.
Bord Bia measures to support Irish food and drink businesses
Aidan Cotter, in presenting Bord Bia’s support measures for food companies said, “These measures were tailored to the needs of exporters and informed by one-to-one contacts with our clients and our post BREXIT survey, and will now be supplemented as necessary following today`s exchanges. They are focused on assisting companies maintain their competitiveness through providing advice on managing volatility impacts, provision of consumer and market insight, deepening customer engagement and extending market reach”.
1. Managing Volatility Impacts
As currency volatility is the key immediate issue highlighted by Irish food and drink exporters, Bord Bia is holding a workshop later this month on the topic. This workshop will demonstrate how to access the right information and manage volatility through negotiation as well as financial and contractual considerations. Bord Bia will also provide an ongoing online financial outlook resource to ensure companies have the latest forecasts on the evolving currency situation.
2. Provision of Consumer and Market Insight
Bord Bia runs a number programmes for companies entering the UK to help them best position themselves in the market. The current UK market specific programmes will have their financial, competitive, contractual and regulatory modules strengthened. Additional one-to-one mentoring with UK foodservice and retail experts will be made available to more companies to assist with negotiations and future planning from next week.
3. Deepening Customer Engagement
Bord Bia will increase its focus on promoting Ireland as a sustainable sourcing opportunity for UK buyers. Utilising its long term, strong relationships with UK trade customers, Bord Bia will amplify existing trade events, “meet the buyer” sessions and pursue opportunities to promote Irish products in the retail and foodservice environment.
Bord Bia will highlight throughout our engagement with customers how the Origin Green programme provides a unique layer of assurance when sourcing imports post-Brexit, addressing concerns of food security, the environment and sustainability. In October, Bord Bia will host an Origin Green reception in the Irish Embassy in London with past and current Origin Green Ambassadors and their UK based host companies.
Irish companies presenting at UK trade shows, such as the Speciality Fine Food Fair, will be further supported through pre-event workshops and mentoring to advise them on new channels. A further series of UK customer engagement and market support activities is being scheduled for the remainder of the year including intense one-to-one engagement with over forty leading trade customers. This is in addition to Bord Bia’s first ever participation at Lunch, the food-to-go trade show in September and the annual trade reception in December, both taking place in London.
4. Extending Market Reach
In parallel, Bord Bia will continue to support our client companies to overcome the barriers for market diversification through the provision of market and consumer insight and brand guidance, while enhancing our market and trade visits, particularly to emerging markets. The latter will include in particular trade missions to Asia and to North Africa, and participation at leading trade fairs, from CIMIE and China Fisheries in China to SIAL in Paris in October.
Bord Bia’s strategic priority of developing new routes to market is underlined by the opening of two new offices this month, in Warsaw to expand our support in Eastern Europe, and in Singapore to service eight emerging markets in South East Asia.
The Irish Market
Conscious of possible pressure on the home market from imports from a weaker Sterling, Bord Bia’s market development activities on the Irish market are also being reviewed. An Origin Green public engagement campaign is also scheduled from October to December, to highlight the unique commitments being made by Irish farmers and the wider food industry in sustainability.
Visit www.bordbia.ie/brexit to stay up to date.