Challenge and change

Responding to a changing world, Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) has launched a virtual trade show to bring Irish prepared consumer foods to a global stage

The ongoing Covid-19 restrictions have stymied trade fairs and shows for much of the last 12 months and in response, Bord Bia has designed the ‘Consumer Foods from Ireland Virtual Sourcing Fair’ to showcase the best of Irish consumer foods. The event will bring together Irish suppliers with international buyers,  and share market insights from Bord Bia experts. Karen Tyner, senior manager, prepared consumer foods, Bord Bia outlines how the event will operate.

Is this a new event for Bord Bia?

This is a new event focused on the prepared consumer food (PCF) sector only. Previously, PCF companies would have met with buyers at Marketplace International events, which were larger events covering all sectors. This virtual showcase is taking a more targeted approach. We would, of course, have preferred these meetings to have taken place in person, but with the current restrictions, it’s important we continue to do business and look for new opportunities for companies. We have also created a virtual expo hall to try to re-create a little of the experience of a trade show.


What is the purpose of the event?

The primary focus is to introduce international buyers to Irish suppliers through a series of meetings. This is to assist companies with their diversification objectives. In addition, Bord Bia will present consumer insights demonstrating the market trends that Irish PCF companies can deliver for potential customers. We want to showcase the industry excellence in the sector.


Who is the target audience?

Distributors, buyers, importers and agents who work in foodservice, retail and manufacturing channels and have buying control over consumer foods within their market. While the main focus is on a select number of priority markets, all markets where Bord Bia has representation are invited to attend.


What can Bord Bia clients hope to gain from it?

The event is an important part of the export diversification strategy and Bord Bia is looking to strengthen relationships in markets that are emerging as key to the long-term success of the Irish export story. Events such as this are key in demonstrating the critical role that Bord Bia plays in facilitating exports.


What can buyers and agents hope to gain from it?

After a challenging year with both Covid-19 and Brexit, many supply chains need to adapt. The event will allow buyers and agents to meet with Irish suppliers who are well-placed to form part of the solution.


How will it work?

The main focus is on a series of one-to-one meetings to make the best use of the attendees’ time. We expect to host hundreds of these meetings over the sessions in April. The insight sessions will be available for buyers and agents to watch throughout the day at a time convenient to their own schedule. The 3D expo hall will also be available throughout the day for buyers to learn more about Irish PCF suppliers in a new and innovative way.


And finally…

I am excited with the opportunities that a virtual event offers. Although we cannot physically bring buyers to Ireland to demonstrate the quality of the products produced by Irish PCF suppliers or their production facilities, attending a virtual sourcing event is an efficient way for a buyer to meet with many suppliers and get their first glimpse of the possibilities that we offer within the sector. Naturally, we look forward to the day when we are able to host them again and continue the conversations that are started at our virtual sourcing fair.