Behind Ireland’s reputation as a source of fresh, world-class produce is Bord Bia, or the Irish Food Board. Its CEO, Tara McCarthy, sees a lot of growth potential in Japan because its consumers are also well-known for being meticulous about the quality of their food and drink.
“Ireland exports food to 180 countries. Trade with Japan is growing across food categories, and with the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, we believe it’s an exciting time,” McCarthy said.
Irish pork, beef, whiskey and luxury chocolates have become high-demand products in Japan. Although the Irish food industry is largely dominated by meat and dairy, it has seen strong growth in its seafood and alcohol industries recently.
Aside from its high quality products, the Irish food industry has also garnered much praise for its commitment to sustainability. A growing number of Irish farmers and food and beverage firms now seek verification under a program called Origin Green. This added verification has raised the premium of Irish products among Japanese consumers.
Because of its long-term commitment to Japan, Bord Bia plans to organize frequent trade missions to the country and open an office in Tokyo.
“Ireland is a country committed to sustainable food production, and we believe that this is the type of brand that the Japanese consumer is looking for. We are committed to a long-term relationship with the Japanese market. That will be shown in our investment and research, and our commitment to serve the market to the best of our ability,” McCarthy said.