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24 Jan, 2019

Recognise your business potential - Bord Bia Small Business Open Day 2019

Bord Bia’s Small Business Open Day 2019 took place on January 22nd in the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise. The event attracted over 120 small business owners and managers across a wide range of sub-sectors within the Food and Drink category. The theme of “recognise your business potential” ran throughout the day. Patrick Black from the Food & AgriBusiness team was there.

Bord Bia’s Small Business Open Day 2019 took place on January 22nd in the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise. The event attracted over 120 small business owners and managers across a wide range of sub sectors within the Food and Drink category. The theme of “recognise your business potential” ran throughout the day. Patrick Black from the Food & AgriBusiness team was there.

Five key takeaways from the day:

  • One in five households shopped online for groceries in 2018

  • Most shoppers buy your brand only once over a year

  • Understand recycling processes in your potential export markets

  • Distinctiveness outweighs differentiation in consumers’ minds

  • Your shoppers do not belong to you, consumers are fickle with only 30 – 40% brand loyalty

Tara McCarthy, Bord Bia CEO opened with the first presentation of the day reflecting on what was a year of growth for the Agri – food sector in export volume terms but there was a less positive picture in value terms.

Key points from 2018 exports:

  • Meat and Dairy made up 66% of our exports

  • Dairy exports up 5% since 2017

  • Exports to international markets up 7% since 2010

  • Netherlands is a key market to watch with an increase in exports of 12%

Moving into 2019 Ms McCarthy noted a few key factors to familiarise ourselves with:

  • Instability being the new normal

  • Resolutions look unlikely

  • Consumers are demanding an authentic experience from their food

Douglas Faughnan from Kantar brought us on a whistle-stop tour of the Irish grocery market and the trends within this very competitive marketplace.

German discounters Aldi and Lidl were a major talking point of the day as Douglas highlighted that 84.5% and 83.5% us shopped in Lidl or Aldi respectively at some stage since their emergence in Ireland.

The Kantar Consumer Insight Director also helped us get inside the minds of the supermarket shopper. He highlighted that average brand loyalty at consumer level is only between 30 – 40%.

Mental vs Physical availability of products was also touched on. It’s not enough to just have your product on the supermarket shelf, it must resonate with the consumer on a higher level.

The area of packaging and how innovation is driving its functionality and environmental sustainability was the area of discussion for Grace Binchy, Insights and Trends Specialist with the Bord Bia Thinking House.

· Consumers only spend on average 3 – 7 seconds looking at a product before placing it in their basket.

· Companies such as Dell and IKEA are incorporating carbon negative plastics in to their processes in order to reduce waste to landfill.

· Transparency is becoming paramount for consumers. This trend has led to track your pack initiatives and NFC compatible packaging.

Karen Tyner, Senior Manager with Bord Bia touched on some of the many supports Bord Bia have available for small Food, Drink and Horticulture businesses. www.bordbiavantage.ie is the key point of interaction for small businesses looking to avail of Bord Bia’s offerings. The Prepared Consumer Foods and Small Business manager highlighted specific supports such as:

  • The Foodworks Programme

  • Trade Fairs

  • Superbrands

  • Sector Manager Support

Conor Spacey from the innovative contract catering company FoodSpace brought us the penultimate presentation of the day. FoodSpace are changing the face of contract catering or “canteens” as they may be better known.

They only use produce grown within a 50-mile radius of the kitchen where possible. At present FoodSpace run 20 operations around Ireland with another 6 set to come on stream in the first half of this year.

Some attendees were a little sceptical regards pricing for such a service, but the Group Executive Chef reassured us that they can produce these sustainable main courses for €5 - €6 retail. How? They have minimized food waste and maximized the use of any so called “food waste” through experimental recipes such as Banana Skin Chutney using fragmented Banana skins.

Conor had one of the most interesting presentations of the day and got the entire audience to reconsider the level of food waste in their current operations.

Shane Hamill and Jack Hogan hosted a breakout session around Brexit and the steps Bord Bia are taking to help companies get Brexit ready. They discussed a wide range of topics including; recent Brexit Barometer results, supply chain, customs and tariffs, emerging risks and financial resilience.

The Small Business Open Day offered a broad range of insights across a number of topics that are impacting Agri – food businesses currently and issues that are coming down the line. An event that could have a very different format next year depending on the outcome of March 29th.