Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, Aidan Cronin, Irish Ambassador to the UAE, and chef James Coffey one of Ireland's most esteemed chef’s, celebrated the quality of Irish produce and its growing popularity in the UAE during an event at the Ambassador’s Residence. Award-winning Irish chef, James Coffey, Head Chef of the renowned Park Hotel Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, gave a range of UAE importers, producers and media a true taste of Ireland through a culinary journey of Irish seafood, beef and cheese.
“The quality of Irish seafood is widely known and respected amongst leading traders in the UAE thanks to clean waters it is fished in, the unparallel taste, and the freshness of the produce. Thanks to this reputation, Irish produce has seen unprecedented growth in the global market – this year we have already exported nearly USD13 billion of Irish food and drink worldwide and we are now looking to mirror this global growth in the UAE,” said Claudia Saumell, the Regional Director Middle East of Bord Bia. In addition to wowing guests with the exquisite taste of Ireland, Bord Bia have underscored the importance of Origin Green, a national program which was introduced by the food agency seven years ago with a remit of proving the credentials of sustainable production in the country. All produce served during the event was sourced by verified Origin Green members.
As part of the scheme, almost 800 independent farm audits take place every week and measure sustainability criteria such as greenhouse gas, biodiversity, animal welfare, traceability, water measurement, energy efficiency, and soil management. “The Origin Green program operates across the full supply chain, from farms to food and drink manufacturers. Ultimately, we have created the infrastructure for Ireland’s food and drink industry to measure and guide the improvement of their sustainability performance,” added Claudia Saumell. In addition to seafood, statistics released by Bord Bia earlier this year announced the growth of dairy exports from Ireland to the UAE with a 23 percent increase to over 11,400 tons between January and July 2019, compared to 9,279 tons during the same period in 2018. The value increased from USD27 million in H1 2018 to USD30 million this year.
Ireland is also the largest net exporter of beef in the Northern Hemisphere. The quality of the produce has allowed exporters to target the high-end UAE consumer market, top class restaurants as well as retailers in the emirate. “The popularity of Irish produce grows year-on-year, from a retail perspective the UAE has the most Irish brands at retail level outside of Ireland and the UK than anywhere in the world. As such, we are committed to supporting and promoting our producers to increase their footprint in the region,’ said Claudia Saumell.