Irish deal to sell beef in China
The agreement is estimated to be valued at 50 million Euro and extends to ABP’s joint venture partners Slaney Foods; the deal is contingent on Irish beef gaining access to the Chinese market. ABP and Wowprime have also agreed to extend the arrangement to include ABP’s UK operations, in the event of the UK gaining market access to China.
ABP has been assessing opportunities in the Asian markets over the past seven years, and has now confirmed it has struck a three-year agreement with Wowprime Corporation to supply beef to its restaurants, even before Irish exporters get the green light for access to the Chinese market. The food group said the contract - estimated at 50million Euro - would also extend to its joint venture partners Slaney Foods, but it remains dependent on Irish beef gaining access to the Chinese market.
China is already the world's second-biggest beef importer and access for Irish beef would be a major win for the industry here. Irish officials travelled to China recently in a bid to progress the long-running bid for access for beef. It follows the Department of Agriculture reviewing and responding to draft inspection documents following a visit by Chinese officials from their certifying body to Irish factories last year.
Ireland is thought to be close to becoming the first major EU country to secure access for its beef to China, where consumers' appetite for the meat is growing strongly. Bord Bia has said it was "optimistic" about securing market access to the Asian powerhouse, part of a strategy to open up new markets after Brexit. Bord Bia's Shanghai-based trade marketing specialist Conor O'Sullivan said that with rising incomes and urbanisation, the appetite for beef among Chinese consumers is growing faster than any other protein.
Restaurants like Wowprime as well as ecommerce channels are seen as key to getting prime Irish beef to Chinese consumers, once the market opens up.