Innovation at the heart of driving major growth for Ireland’s food industry

Enterprise Ireland sponsors World Food Technology & Innovation Forum
Leaders in food research and development, food innovation and new product development are inDublinthis week for the annual World Food Technology & Innovation Forum.  Sponsored byEnterpriseIreland, the Forum brings together leading international food companies, research groups, food producers and expert sectoral bodies to share information and debate the issues shaping the future of the global food industry.

Speaking today at the event Joe Healy, Enterprise Ireland Food Division Manager, said: ‘Irelandhas hugely ambitious targets for Food Harvest 2020 as part of our national vision for the food industry, in which we want to generate €1bn of new value added exports. These targets cannot be achieved without successfully turning our international strengths into new products for growing global markets.

‘Our dairy sector, with its anticipated increase of 50% in milk supply by 2020, represents a tremendous opportunity. The potential to expand milk supply and increase exports is a singular advantage on world markets, as recognised by the blue chip global food companies who are present inIreland. Innovation is the driving force for companies that want to be part of this growth, and it is critically important that the food and beverage industry lead the way in applying science and technology to develop new market-led products’, he said.

Ireland is recognised as a leader in commercialising science in the functional ingredients space, and is home to many leading global food and beverage manufacturers working in partnership with Irish researchers and Irish companies.

The most significant Irish industry-led research in the food sector is the unique partnership between four ofIreland’s leading dairy companies to research how the natural properties of milk can be extracted and used to deliver health benefits for consumers. The Food for Health Ireland Technology Centre has received €20 million in funding from Enterprise Ireland since it was established in 2008.

Dairygold Food Ingredients, Glanbia Nutritionals, Carbery and Kerry Ingredients Ireland are working with a consortium of research institutes led by UCC to develop a medium to long term strategy for their sector based around maximising the commercial value of their common raw material – milk. Infant formula, dairy spreads, yogurts and cheese are some of the products that will be enhanced using the research results to help maintain health and alleviate conditions associated with serious diseases.

According to Joe Healy, ‘It is encouraging to see the progress already made by the dairy companies collaborating in this research centre. By agreeing to work together to develop a strategy for their sector, these companies have identified a range of high-value products that when brought to the international marketplace will lead to increased exports and create employment in the food sector’.