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Minister Smith welcomes 290 International Buyers, 85 Irish Buyers & 160 Irish Food and Drink Companies to Bord Bia "Marketplace Ireland 2010" Event

Speaking today in Croke Park at the "Marketplace Ireland - 2010" event organised by Bord Bia today, Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food welcomed 290 international buyers from eighteen countries and 85 Irish buyers, who are meeting some 160 Irish food and drink companies.

Minister Smith said "The food industry is part of what we are and what we do.  It is our main indigenous industry with 800 companies employing over 45,000 people and producing over a third of our net export earnings from the primary and manufacturing sectors. In the face of the global downturn, currency challenges and volatile commodity prices the industry achieved over €7billion in exports in 2009 as companies showed huge determination to stay in business".

Emphasising that the theme of Marketplace was converting opportunities to business, he added that "This event provides a superb opportunity for networking across the food and drinks sector. Having a sustainable, competitive and innovative food industry is key to Ireland's economic well-being and is a critical contributor to our international competitiveness.  The future depends on very smart operations, deep understanding of buyer and consumer demands and agility in responding to market shocks. Marketplace Ireland 2010 shows how some of our best companies do this."

Minister Smith wished the food companies success with their 2,800 pre-arranged meetings with buyers. Commenting on the Food Islands and Consumer Trend Zone displays he concluded that this commitment to innovation confirmed his firm belief in a positive outlook for the Irish food and drinks industry overall.

Note for Editors:
The Consumer Trend Zones at Marketplace identify the aspirations and lifestyles of different groups of consumers and display food products which encapsulate them.  The six Trends identifies are Fluid Lives; Making the Best of Life; Quest for Health and Wellbeing;  Sustainable Lives; Keeping it Real, and the Consumer in Control.

Date Released: 09 February 2010