Monday, October 22 11:53:28
The Irish Dairy Board (IDB) will bring the best of Irish dairy produce to SIAL 2012 in Paris this week.
SIAL is the world's most prestigious food trade event, attended by buyers from all over the world. The IDB team will showcase Irish dairy produce with exhibitors from over 200 countries to win the attention of international customers in retail and food services.
They will be joined there today by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and Shane McEntee, Minister of State, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The IDB is Ireland's largest dairy exporter with exports close to a E1 billion in 2011 and is a global operation with over 3,000 employees working outside of Ireland.
Its core markets for dairy exports are the UK, Germany and the United States and markets brands such as Kerrygold and Dubliner Cheese in these international markets with considerable success.
The iconic Kerrygold brand is the number one butter in German and the number one imported butter brand in the United States.
As the IDB seeks to build the sales of Irish dairy products, new markets and new products are being targeted. Already the IDB is building markets successfully in Africa, in countries like Algeria, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it exports Irish milk powders under the Kerrygold and Beo brands. Attending events such as SIAL is an important driver of new opportunities for the Irish dairy industry.
Fergal McGarry, Global Marketing and Innovation Director, IDB explained why new markets are critical. "We have done very well building a sustainable export business for Irish dairy products. While demand for those products is continuing to grow in our core markets, there are even greater opportunities in emerging markets due to the higher growth rate in dairy consumption albeit from a lower per capita base. Population growth, increasing income levels and a greater westernisation of consumer taste, are driving a big increase in demand for quality dairy products in new markets. Africa, Russia and China are areas that offer considerable opportunity for us. Our target is to increase sales to emerging markets to greater than 35pc of Irish dairy exports by 2020."
The global appetite for Irish dairy produce is thanks in no small measure to the influence of our weather. Our regular rainfall is perfect for growing grass keeping cows in the fields for the lactation cycle, giving a more natural product, which is particularly prized in the IDB's core export markets.
Fergal McGarry explained the advantage that this gives to Irish dairy produce, "Our quality milk is what makes us unique. When we market the Kerrygold brand across the world we focus on the values of Irish, pure, natural and taste. All delivered from the rich creamy milk of cows fed on fresh, green grass. Our grass is what gives our butters, cheeses and milk powders their distinctive taste and texture. A taste that cannot be matched on global markets."