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UK 'won't go off Irish beef' after Brexit

By Margaret Donnelly

The UK will remain an important market for Irish beef regardless of Brexit, according to a director at the Republic's food promotion agency.

Padraig Brennan, director of international markets at Bord Bia, said that it is considering what Ireland needs to do in light of Brexit.

"Some 37% of Irish food and drink exports go to the UK. It is not a market that we are going to give up on," he said.

Speaking in Dubai at international food fair Gulfoods, where 21 Irish firms showcased their produce, he said that shape of a new trading environment with the UK is not known and it will take considerable time for this to emerge.

But Mr Brennan also said that the more markets and customers there are for Irish food and drink exports, the better for producers.

Irish exports to the US in 2016 were worth €950m, he added - and that was a market that the sector needed. "We have to find premium product placements for Irish beef. The UK market is one of the highest paying markets in recent year," he said.

He also said that the UK consumer wants minced beef. "Irish beef is not in the wrong position. Some 60% of beef consumed in the UK is mince, but we need more niche markets and products into those premium markets."

According to Mr Brennan, one of the key routes into premium markets has been the Chefs Irish Beef Club.

"Nearly 90 chefs, mainly in Europe, promote Irish beef through the club," he said.

"How do we get the best price back to farmers? The Chefs Irish Beef Club helps us do that.

"We are in a very competitive market when it comes to beef and our unique selling point is our grass-fed beef, which comes from family farms with a high level of quality assurance."

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