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Bord Bia, Google partner for Irish food

Thursday, April 24 11:03:19

With some 70pc of all Irish online spending going out of the country, Bord Bia and Google today launched a new training programme to help Irish food businesses to maximise their online presence and sales.

The 'Digital Food Hub' digital training programme has been specifically tailored for the Irish food industry. Having completed an application process, 21 Irish food companies have been selected to participate in the inaugural seven month programme, which will include workshops, training modules and one-to-one mentoring delivered by Google digital experts at its European headquarters in Dublin.

The companies, representing dairy, meat, confectionary and chilled food sectors, range from large multinational players such as Kerry Foods and Cuisine de France to new businesses such as The Little Milk Company and Elivar.

According to Bord Bia's Tomorrow's Shopper research the number of Irish consumers buying online continues to grow, with 94pc of shoppers in Ireland purchasing online. Mobile and social commerce are showing significant growth, facilitated by portable, handheld devices and speedier networks.

By 2015, nine out of ten consumers in Ireland will own a smartphone, with tablet ownership projected to reach 50pc. The study found that many consumers are using these devices to research products and services before they buy - some 82pc of those surveyed had completed pre-purchase research on their smartphone. In addition, the use of social networks, such as Facebook, for purchasing goods and services represents a significant opportunity for companies. According to Gartner, over 50pc of all internet sales globally will take place via social media by 2015.

Speaking at the launch today Bord Bia Chief Executive Aidan Cotter welcomed the partnership with Google, citing it as an exciting and opportune development for the Irish food and drink industry. "It is widely recognised that technology is one of the key drivers of change in terms of consumer buying behaviour. Both brands and retailers need to think outside the confines of the 'bricks and mortar' store to build stronger and longer lasting relationships with consumers. Irish food and drink companies with the capability to collect, understand, and leverage specific consumer information using digital technology will be best positioned to deliver value added benefits to shoppers. This coupled with a multi-channel online presence, in the form of a proactive and comprehensive digital strategy, will create the optimum shopper experience and provide increased purchasing opportunities."