WEST Cork-based Carbery Group is one of several leading Irish dairy companies who are targeting business in Indonesia and Malaysia
Over 120 Indonesian and Malaysian food manufacturers, importers, retailers and food service operators joined Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture over the course of two days at Bord Bia seminars this week to generate new business opportunities for Irish dairy exporters in the region.
Bord Bia’s Origin Green Dairy Seminars, in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, respectively, were focussed on building sustainable trade relationships and include detailed presentations from senior Irish and local officials on food safety controls, market trends and updates, and Origin Green, Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme. Each seminar culminated with a schedule of targeted business meetings for Irish exporters in attendance with qualified high potential local buyers.
Addressing the delegation at the first seminar in Jakarta Tara McCarthy, chief executive of Bord Bia, and Clonakilty native, spoke about building upon existing trade relationships. ‘We are two countries on opposite sides of the world, different in many ways, but we share an understanding that security of supply is key to allowing us to plan ahead for growth and success.’
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, from Macroom, who opened proceedings, added: ‘Bord Bia’s dairy conference is an excellent opportunity to bring targeted retail buyers, suppliers and consumers together from both our countries together.
‘Having our own Irish dairy companies participating in this mission allows us to showcase the best of Irish dairy to a wider audience. Irish dairy farming is among the best in the world. Our natural grass-based farming methods, our competitive and innovative dairy processing industry, together with our rigorous system of food safety controls, have allowed Ireland to develop a strong export-focused dairy sector.’
Among attendees at the Origin Green Diary Seminars were a number of leading Irish dairy companies, including Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia, Ornua and Arrabawn.
These dairy seminars were organised as part of a week-long trade mission to the region to allow the Irish dairy industry gain an in-depth market understanding and to secure new business opportunities.
The dairy seminars in both Indonesia and Malaysia were delivered through a targeted trade marketing campaign, which reached 200 industry representatives. And, for the first time on a trade mission, Bord Bia also arranged 150 business-to-business (B2B) ‘speed networking’ meetings in Indonesia and Malaysia, that connected Irish companies to key importers and buyers.
Both Indonesia and Malaysia have been identified as offering potential for dairy export growth through Bord Bia’s Prioritising Markets study due to their expanding middle class, dependence on imported dairy and the growing demand for consumer foods made from quality ingredients.
Ms McCarthy added: ‘Bord Bia is increasing its resources across South East Asia to assist Irish exporters leverage these evolving opportunities and position Ireland as a value added supplier into the future. We have invested in insight and intelligence to enable Irish exporters to develop a network of distributors and importers in region.’
Earlier this year, Bord Bia’s insight team completed an immersion study in both markets to explore consumer attitudes to food and, specifically, to identify opportunities for Irish dairy. The comprehensive study involved Bord Bia researchers visiting families and consumers in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur to understand their attitudes to and consumption of dairy. To date, Ireland has been a limited supplier into these markets with combined dairy exports valued at under €50 million.
Ms McCarthy said: ‘The opportunity in these two markets is significant as Indonesian and Malaysian consumers increase the percentage of dairy-based food in their diet. We will work with industry as they develop new products to ensure they address local taste preferences and demand for functionality around protein and calcium.
‘There is real potential to deliver a unique message for Ireland around our natural, sustainable dairy industry, which is already in line with their values.’
Proximity and historic trade means that both Indonesia and Malaysia have traditionally looked to Oceania and India as sources for imported food. As a result, awareness of Ireland as a dairy and meat producer is low. However, there is a growing demand for sustainable sources of ingredients from Europe, which presents opportunities for Ireland.