Bord Bia has launched a new €8m campaign to promote European beef, lamb and dairy across Japan and southeast Asia as part of its ministerial-led trade mission to the region this week.

The campaign is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and includes the promotion of ‘European Beef and Lamb - Ireland, working with nature’ in Japan, China, South Korea and the US at a cost of €4.8m and the promotion of ‘European Dairy - Ireland, working with nature’ in Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines at cost of €3.2m.

The Japanese phase of both campaigns was formally launched at technical seminars in Tokyo on Thursday, attended by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue. Over 80 Japanese buyers, stakeholders and local media were in attendance.

Japan is the third-largest importer of beef in the world, importing €16m worth of Irish beef in the first half of 2022. However, some 50% of this is offal.

Irish beef exports to Japan are on the increase and grew in value from €15.7m in 2020 to €28m in 2021, an increase of 76%.

Minister Charlie McConalogue is leading Bord Bia's trade mission to southeast Asia this week.

On Irish dairy, in the first half of 2022, demand in this priority market of Japan remained robust at €38m (+85%) in what Bord Bia described as an “encouraging sign given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in the market”.

Irish dairy exports to Japan were valued at €69m in 2021, a 5% increase on the previous year, dominated by the cheese category at €58m.

Projected market growth

Speaking in Tokyo, Minister McConalogue described how, as part of Bord Bia’s campaigns, “almost €2m will be invested in promotional activities in the Japanese market”.

“This is expected to result in €11.6m growth in Irish beef and lamb exports and €18.9m growth in Irish dairy exports to the market - a significant feat for the Irish meat and dairy sectors”, said the Minister.

Bord Bia plans to target nearly 10,000 Asian dairy buyers as part of its promotional activity in the region. It also will grant Irish dairy processors access to an additional six Asian trade fairs and see 84 buyers and journalists from southeast Asia visit Irish farms and processors over the next three years.

Beef and lamb

As part of the beef and lamb campaign, Bord Bia says it will also host Irish beef and lamb exporters at an additional three trade shows in southeast Asia, host 12 trade seminars, three chef masters events and welcome 27 Japanese trade and media representatives to Ireland.

Bord Bia will also promote Irish beef and lamb through digital, social media and advertising campaigns across the region.

Also speaking in Tokyo, Bord Bia’s senior EU promotions manager Declan Fennell said: “EU co-funded campaigns are a vital means of putting Ireland on the global map as a food producer.

"Of particular focus will be the building of new relationships between Irish exporters and local importers and distributors in the relevant market.

“Combined, [the beef and lamb and dairy campaigns] represent the largest ever investment in third country markets for the promotion of Irish meat and dairy and will build upon the investment started back in 2017 via the €3.75m 'European Beef and Lamb - Excellence in Food Safety and Quality Assurance' [campaign] that ran between 2017 and 2020.”

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