“A German buyer said he would take all the organic beef we have”

The world’s largest organic food trade fair, BIOFACH, was held in Nuremberg, Germany last week with Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity Pippa Hackett at the head of the Irish delegation.

The minister’s visit was part of an organic-focused trade mission to Germany, during which she met with members of the German government and retailers.

The percentage of organically produced food in Ireland is lower than in the EU as a whole, especially compared to Germany, where organic food occupies an impressive place on supermarket shelves.

For this reason, the German market is seen as holding major potential for Irish organic produce, especially with organic production expected to increase here in line with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the European Green Deal.

Talk to Agriland at BIOFACH, Minister Hackett said: “We are now really making a big push as a state to get into this market. Certainly in Germany and perhaps beyond.

“Now more than ever, the focus is on broader agricultural sustainability and organic farming plays a major role in this,” she added.

“The organic market in Europe, especially in Germany, is so much more mature. They are at least ten years ahead of us. We are catching up to some extent.

Despite this, the Minister noted that the German retailers she engaged with were not only aware of Irish organic produce but would also be keen to get more of it, especially beef.

“The fact that this mature market exists now is to our benefit, and even talking to some of the retailers [here], there is definitely a demand for our beef. In a particular outlet they will take everything we have. Anything we can produce, they will get,” she stressed.

In general, where organic food is produced, the fruit and vegetable sector has always tended to go organic earlier and in greater numbers than meat or dairy. However, this trend could change, providing opportunities for Irish organic cattle and dairy farmers.

Perhaps surprisingly, organic cheddar cheese was also cited as an Irish product that would be of interest to at least some German retailers.

“We produce such a small amount compared to the demand here. I think there is room in there. There has been a bit of stagnation in the German market, but all indications are that this will be a temporary blow. »

Minister Hackett explained that German consumers are “conscientious shoppers who are aware of the footprint of the food they consume”.

James R. Rhodes