Bord Bia has opened a new gateway office in Warsaw
Irish food and drink are set to be exported to 11 Central European markets, as Bord Bia opens a new Warsaw office.
The operation aims to drive exports to Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Poland is Ireland’s eighth largest EU market for food and drink - with exports reaching an estimated €185m in 2016 - an increase of 15% on the previous year.
Central and Eastern Europe accounts for over €250m of Irish food and drink exports.
The three largest markets - Poland, Czech Republic and Latvia - account for almost 85% of this trade, which has doubled in value in the past five years.
The key sectors driving this growth are prepared foods (driven by fat filled milk powders in Poland), meat (driven by beef and pigmeat in Poland) and beverages (driven by Latvia and Czech Republic).
Opening the new office in the Polish capital, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "Our food and drink industry has always embraced the challenge of finding new markets for our produce, exporting over 80% of what we produce.
"From this strategic location Bord Bia can pave the way to new and valuable markets reaching to the eastern borders of the EU with a combined population of 103 million and a retail market worth €177bn.
"While our three largest markets in the region currently absorb 85% of exports, there exists huge potential for further growth."
Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy said the decision to establish an office in Poland followed considerable research into potential growth in Poland itself and its location as a gateway to Central Europe.
"This office opens at a time when many Irish companies are looking to new opportunities while still holding their positions in traditional markets.
"The value of trade to Poland has almost trebled over the last five years with dairy, beverages and prepared foods, all showing strong growth in 2016.
"The potential for further growth here and in emerging EU markets will increase their attractiveness to exporters and the increasing awareness of Origin Green will offer important assurances to buyers on sustainable sourcing.
"Bord Bia Warsaw will provide exporters with the resources, consumer insight and market intelligence necessary to help them maximise opportunities in these markets".