We recently worked with Love Irish Food to host a webinar on the theme of “Embracing Change: Adapting to Change” addressing how the food industry rebuilds and moves forward after the challenges of Brexit and Covid19. Host Alison Cowzer welcomed over 100 attendees, as well as the panel of expert speakers. In her introduction, she highlighted the role of Love Irish Food as an association exclusively focused on the food and drink sector in Ireland. Its membership is comprised of more than 60 member companies representing over 100 food and drink brands that are produced in Ireland with locally available ingredients.
The first speaker was Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia who recognised how the Irish food and drink sector has demonstrated how innovative and agile it can be over the past two years. It has managed the challenges of Brexit and Covid with an increase of 4% in the value of exports in 2021.
Next to speak were Professor Joe Bogue and Dr Lana Repar of the Cork University Business School. Their presentation looked and the changing food consumers and future product trends. They identified the increasing importance of sensory profiles and functional foods as well as consumer demand for sustainability and convenience. James Wilson, Food Director at Dunnes Stores spoke of the impact of the pandemic and Brexit on consumer habits. They see an increase in home cooking and a more even distribution of spend across the week, which impacts supply requirements. Consumers are also looking for locally produced Irish foods, and increased digital elements in their shopping experience value for money in the face of rising inflation.