Leading a strong trade mission , including Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney TD will meet major multinational companies based in Switzerland to highlight what Ireland can offer as a strategic partner and supplier of food to Switzerland.

Swiss global food companies also offer an attractive location for investment and R&D by such companies in Ireland. Significant opportunities include the dairy sector, where Irish research institutes drive innovation in novel high-value nutrition, wellness products and functional ingredients.

Speaking on the eve of his departure to Switzerland on the trade mission Minister Coveney said: “There is significant scope to position Irish food products at a premium level in the valuable Swiss market of seven million consumers.”

He added  as a country with one of the highest levels of GDP per capita in the western world, Switzerland offered significant potential for Irish exports of beef, lamb, cheese, beverages and seafood.

“The demand in Switzerland for quality and service in its food sourcing is high” said the minister. “I will be taking every opportunity to describe Ireland’s strengths and the industry’s plans for growth in the period 2015 to 2020, when high-quality dairy ingredients will be available in increased volumes, protected by strong food safety systems, quality assurance and traceability, and benefiting from a good support ecosystem, including strong connectivity with the research community.”

Noting Swiss emphasis on sustainable supply sources, Minister Coveney said: “I will in particular, be discussing Irish food and drink companies’ commitment to sustainability through the “Origin Green” initiative. At the heart of Origin Green is a sustainability charter that commits companies to sustainability, by reducing energy inputs, minimising their carbon footprint and lessening their impact on the environment. Our aim is that 75 per cent of Irish food and drink exports will be in the programme by end 2014.”

The trade mission is an opportunity to bring together like-minded Swiss and Irish agri-food companies, and will highlight the strategic support for investment and business development offered by Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia in food manufacturing and services.  Switzerland is the 12th largest market for European exports and Swiss agri-food companies are already investing in Ireland.

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