Food and Drink from Ireland
Ireland is often referred to as the ‘Emerald Isle’ on account of its lush, green landscape and spectacular scenery. Tourists the world over choose Ireland as a location of outstanding natural beauty, as well as an opportunity to experience its rich and colourful heritage.
Tourism in the Republic of Ireland is one of the biggest contributors to the economy, employing over 300,000 people. Food and drink manufacturing accounts for half of the direct expenditure by the entire manufacturing sector in the Irish economy. Food Drink Ireland recently reported that the manufacture of food and drink products is Ireland’s most important, indigenous industry with a turnover of €27.5 billion.
The Good Food Ireland imitative comprises a collection of good food places throughout the country, specialising in local food and drink to support farmers, food producers and fishermen. Visitors can experience an authentic ‘farm to fork’ lifestyle, as well as enjoy the traditional warmth of Irish hospitality.
A recent survey reported that 83% of respondents voted Ireland as offering the most satisfactory food and drink experience. The National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland, Failte Ireland, agrees that ‘the reality of visitors’ experience with Irish food now far exceeds expectations prior to arrival in the country’ and summarises that the perception of Ireland simply being a country with great ingredients has shifted to that of a nation with its own authentic cuisine. This is largely attributable to the emergence of innovative food and drink initiatives across the country and the resurgence of distilleries and micro-breweries.
One such success story in Drumshanbo, County Leitrim, is The Shed Distillery, whose manufacturing operation from a disused jam factory, is responsible for a fantastic range of spirits including Gunpowder Gin, Sausage Tree Vodka and Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Committed to the highest standards of quality, the company is KLBD certified and from June will be providing an immersive experience for visitors to explore and sample the delights of the distillery.
Another highly regarded company with KLBD certification is Irish Seaspray, the largest exporter of Irish Origin Smoked Salmon to most European countries, as well as the United States and Canada. The exceptional taste and appearance of the range is down to their specific production technique and carries the exclusive labelling, ‘Smoked in the Country of Origin’.
Ireland is renowned for the purity of its produce, a classic example of which is Oriel Sea Salt, the only non-oxidised sea salt available worldwide and manufactured in the picturesque village of Clogherhead. Displaying the KLBD logo as a sign of stringent quality control, the fine grain and smooth taste of Oriel Sea Salt is regarded as the perfect sea salt by chefs and food lovers alike.
Long regarded as a ‘super food’ for its properties as a slow-release source of energy and nourishment, independent family business and KLBD certified, E. Flahavan & Sons, has been milling oats in County Waterford for over 200 years. Their extensive product range includes varieties for every dietary requirement and age group, all with the focus on healthy eating.
BFree Foods produce a comprehensive range of gluten-free and allergen-free products from their manufacturing base in Dublin and strive to cater for every dietary requirement. Wholegrain pittas, multigrain wraps and sweet potato loaf are just some of the tasty BFree range, whose products are supported by the reassuring symbol of KLBD certification. Superfood mixes and breakfast superfood toppings form part of the delicious Superlife brand. Founded in 2011, the company pledges to use ingredients which are tested against heavy metals and pesticides. With their focus on health and wellness the certification by KLBD is indicative of their attention placed on quality control.
Two fantastic opportunities are underway for the future development of the Irish food industry. One forms part of Project Ireland 2040, whereby the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine has funded an €8.8 million Food Innovation Hub at the Teagasc Food Research Centre, County Cork. This facility will provide a unique opportunity for food companies to enhance their research and innovation capacity to reach new markets abroad. Speaking at the opening, Minister Michael Creed commented: ‘The Teagasc Food Research Programme is internationally recognised and spans the entire food chain, from production at farm level to processing operations and analytical testing’.
Another multi-million euro construction has been given the go-ahead for a food innovation hub in Athenry. Chairman of BIA innovator Campus CLG, Peter Feeney, commented, ‘This is a project of national significance, and the food hub will fill a void in the western region, allowing the development of innovative added value food products and becoming central to rural development and a sustainable agricultural sector’. Director, Alan Farrell, added, ‘The aim is to ensure that businesses are supported at the start-up stage, and provide a growth continuum to enable them to scale up and enter new markets. With Brexit on the horizon, this investment is tailored to meet the needs and address the challenges the private sector faces’.
Ireland attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world for its food, scenery and a host of other reasons. Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, commented, ‘Tourism Ireland aims to spread the benefits of tourism more broadly across the island of Ireland on a year-round basis’.
Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture exports hit a record €13 billion for the first time in 2019. With exports reaching €1.2 billion, butter remained the category leader last year. Indeed Kerrygold butter bound for USA is KLBD kosher certified. Look out for more Irish products to be certified soon.