NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - July 13, 2010) -  Bord Bia -- The Irish Food Board -- today welcomed Mr. Brian Cowen, Ireland's Prime Minister, on the occasion of his visit to New York and a meet with Ireland's development agencies and the Irish business community.

Ireland's Prime Minister emphasized the importance of trade between Ireland and the US. He said, "Given the significance of the agri-food and drink sector to the Irish economy, both in terms of exports and employment, this is a valuable opportunity to impress upon US business leaders the priority that the Irish Government and bodies such as Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland place on the development of the Irish food sector while, at the same time, highlighting the benefits of collaborating with Irish food companies, including access to leading edge food science and technology research in Ireland."

Mr. Brian Cowen continued, "The Irish Food Board's presence in the North American market is vital for Irish food and drink companies when forging relationships with the US food and drink trade. The agency's strategy in encouraging and assisting Irish companies to do business in the US is designed to ensure that opportunities are maximized and that the right support and information is provided at a local level to meet the challenges faced when entering the US marketplace."

In 2009, food and drink exports to the United States from Ireland were valued at EUR 372 million, similar to 2008 levels, and a very positive outcome during recessionary times. While spanning a range of food categories, the principal components of these sales are accounted for by the alcoholic beverages and dairy / ingredients sectors.

Ireland has made a real impact with some of its key international brands in the US. The Kerrygold brand owned by The Irish Dairy Board is the number one imported butter into the US; Irish oatmeal has become the number one imported oatmeal; Irish cream liqueur is the number one liqueur in the US and Irish whiskey is the fastest growing whiskey in the US.

To encourage more success stories, Bord Bia -- The Irish Food Board, launched a Graduate Fellowship Program in July 2009. Twenty five experienced graduate fellows were sent to 12 international markets worldwide as part of a new year-long program. The fellows partnered with over 100 Irish food and drink companies to complete 160 projects. In New York, there are five graduates currently working on behalf of 22 Irish companies. The program allows the companies to experience the benefits of having a person on the ground working with their brand.

According to Karen Coyle, President of Bord Bia, North America, "Americans have a very positive image of Ireland's people and environment. Coupled with Ireland's dynamic, world-class food and drink industry, I firmly believe we can successfully promote and build our trade with the US, based on a message that Ireland the Food Island is a logical source of natural, premium and tasty food and drink products for one of the world's most demanding and discerning markets."

Contact Information:

For further information contact:
Karen Coyle
Bord Bia, New York
Tel: 1 212 935 4505