IRELAND - Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney hosted a launch event in New York this week to officially mark the re-entry of Irish beef to the US market after an absence of 15 years.
The event, featuring top international chefs providing demonstrations on dishes of Irish beef, was attended by a large number of key US buyers and food writers with the aim of increasing the profile of Irish beef as a quality premium product.
Minister Coveney said: “Last night’s launch was the perfect event at which to market Irish beef to premium buyers, distributors and opinion formers.
“These high profile opportunities are the next step in targeting the US market now that market access has been acquired and leading Irish exporters seek to secure business both during and after this trip.
“We’re benefitting from the endorsement of some of the best Michelin star chefs whose commitment to Irish beef gives it a prestige unparalleled elsewhere.”
The Minister added: “I was pleased to meet yesterday with several US distributors and based on those meetings I think we can be very confident that Irish beef is well on its way to securing a significant slice of the market. The ABP announcement yesterday of its €15m beef collaboration with SYSCO yesterday is hopefully the first of many such deals.”
Earlier in the day the Minister and Bord Bia held a media briefing for US food and business journalists on the marketing strategy being rolled out for Irish beef in the US.
The announcement also included the launch of a dedicated website for US consumers on the qualities of Irish beef www.irishbeefusa.com.
Commenting on the strategy Bord Bia Chief Executive Aidan Cotter said: “We will use all social media channels available to attract and educate consumers on the qualities of Irish beef as well as targeting in-store meat department teams, "foodie" consumers, millennials and the food media."
Tuesday sees the visit move to Washington DC where in addition to a number of other beef promotional events the Minister will have a number of political meetings including with his US counterpart, Secretary for Agriculture, Tom Vilsack and Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
In addition the Minister will address high level delegates at the World Bank and later at the prestigious School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, on the theme of Ireland’s agricultural journey from subsistence farming to being a world leader in safe sustainable food production.
The delegation also included representatives from the Irish Farmers’ Association.
Irish Farmers’ Association President, Eddie Downeysaid the opening of the US market is a positive development and its significance will be judged by farmers securing improved beef prices from the marketplace in 2015.
“The opportunity to develop new markets for our vital beef sector is welcome,” he said.
“The current beef supply shortage in the United States provides Ireland with a real market opportunity, especially in the short term as the US is in the process of rebuilding its beef herd.”
Mr Downey said the opening of new markets for Irish beef and dairy products was a critical job of work for the Government.
He said the major increase in US beef prices, up by €1/kg in the last year and now at €5-€5.15/kg, must present a real opportunity for Irish grass-based beef exports.
He said Minister Coveney has indicated that the US market could take up to 20,000 tonnes of Irish beef in 2015 and this would be substantial.
TheMeatSite News Desk