October 28, 2008
Beef was the main motivator of Ireland's EUR 365 million food and drink export trade to Italy last year, said Bord Bia yesterday.
It also disclosed that beef exports to Italy have more than doubled in the past five years. Irish beef and lamb, organic smoked salmon, farmhouse cheese, soda bread and micro brew beers are among the premium and specialty artisan products being promoted by Bord Bia at Salone del Gusto, which concludes in Turin today.
The biennial exhibition showcases delicacies from across the world.
Salone del Gusto, organised by Slow Food and the Piedmont Region, attracts over 170,000 visitors, 30 percent of whom are non-Italian.
Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter said Irish beef is available in the top eight Italian retailers while beef accounted for almost 60 percent of total exports to the country in 2007.
The presence at Salone del Gusto, the world's largest specialty food event, aims to enhance Ireland's premium positioning in the European marketplace.
Minister of State Trevor Sargent said the event Gusto is an excellent opportunity to taste and demonstrate the quality and diversity of Irish food.
The traditional delicacies and native ingredients are rooted in the integrity of raw material, artisan skills and a strive for excellence and uniqueness to a locality.
Italy is Ireland's fourth largest EU market for food and drink after Britain, France and Germany.
The main food products exported, apart from beef are alcoholic beverages (beer, cream liqueurs and whiskey), fish (mussels, prawns, smoked salmon), and milk powders. Beef exports to Italy reached 47,000 tonnes in 2007, making it the third largest EU market for Irish beef.