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Bord Bia and Irish Food Companies Target Private Label Retailers

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Bord Bia and Irish Food Companies Target Private Label Retailers

Bord Bia and Irish Food Companies Target Private Label Retailers
May 22
08:51 2017

Bord Bia and 21 Irish food companies are exploring new opportunities with Continental European food retailers as they look beyond their existing UK customer base to grow their businesses. Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy (pictured above) explains: “Private Label food and drink now forms a significant part of retail sales in Europe, and our recent consumer insight research in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands indicates that considerable room for expansion exists for certain categories. Irish companies have built an impressive track record in the sophisticated UK Private Label market and are well placed to offer innovative solutions to European retailers who are seeking to develop their Private Label categories.”

She continues: “European retailers, for their part are increasingly seeking innovative solutions that will deliver value, choice and responsibly produced food and drink for their customers. Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme supports participating companies can meet these challenges by providing proof behind the sustainably produced food that is independently verified.”

To assist client companies succeed in this space Bord Bia launched its European Private Label Programme (EPLP) 2017-2019 earlier this year and is now actively supporting 21 companies who wish to expand within the sector and diversify from their traditional UK market.

Bord Bia Private Label Research

Bord Bia’s Consumer Insight Team commissioned market and category research into Private Label opportunities in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden last year in an push to expand opportunities for Irish companies in the sector and this work took on added importance following the decision of the UK electorate to leave the EU. The target categories were frozen ready meals, biscuits, cakes, dairy spreads and flavoured waters. The research revealed potential for growth in each of these markets whether through exploiting growth in a particular category or offering innovative solutions to boost retailers’ business through providing choice and innovation to their customers within a category. The results of this study will now inform exporters who are targeting these markets or categories and will also guide the 21 companies on Bord Bia’s new European Private Label Programme and support companies who are eager to diversify from the UK market.

Highlights of the 2017 programme include:

  • 21 companies participating.
  • Private Label Seminar, 29 March in Dublin.
  • Digital marketing campaign to include advertising on LinkedIn and Google Adwords.
  • New private label space on Bord Bia trade website launching in Q2.
  • EPLP members to be given premium positions on dedicated Private Label section (Subject to Origin Green status).
  • One-to-one mentoring session with local Bord Bia team and retail specialists to assist with market entry strategies.
  • Two market study visits per year (the Netherlands in May and Sweden in August).
  • Consumer and Market Insights, and category audits per market (five markets per company).
  • Quarterly e-zine on European PL developments.

Private Label opportunities

Irish manufacturers have consistently seen the benefits and opportunities of supplying Private Label products for retailers both in Ireland, the UK and increasingly further afield. The arrival of the discounters into the UK and domestic markets has not only opened up new opportunities for the Irish supply base.

Private Label in Continental European retail has a penetration of 32%, well behind the UK rate of 52% (IRI Worldwide), however European retailers are making ground and while the overall PL growth rate has slowed in some EU markets in 2016, there has been growth in premium and specialty Private Label (Premium, Health, Free From, Sustainable, Chefs Quality, Organic, etc.).

While private label food and drink sales account for a significant percentage of both value and volume sales within Europe, the penetration levels vary by country and by category. IRI consumer research estimates that overall the value share of Private Label in “fast moving consumer goods” is 38.3% and volume is 47.4% in Europe, however in some countries this will be significantly higher e.g. in the UK value and volume are 52% and 57% respectively, in Spain the figures are 41.5% and 49.1% whereas in Italy it is as low as 17% and 20.2%.

IRI consumer research figures highlight that the food sector is a key area of focus and for categories such as frozen food, Private Label accounts for 43% of sales while in chilled and fresh it represents 39%.

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