Bord Bia Small Business Seminar – Marketing Supports for Irish SMEs

Given by Eileen Bentley of Bord Bia


this is the Bord Bia marketing service.

  • Vantage Point – website with resources and discussions –
  • Vantage Partner – a 12 month business development program
  • Vantage Promote – consumer research

2011 Outlook

Overall the SME food sector is positive on the outlook. Biggest challenges from the sector:

  • Avoiding margin pressure from retailers
  • Meeting changing consumer needs
  • Reducing production and distribution costs
  • Investing in new brands

Cost Reduction

The Vantage Partner programme works with client companies over 12 months to develop a vision for the business (working with experts) and outputs include both business and marketing plans which are operationally usable and realistic and have been tested against the market.

Distribution challenges

Vantage Distribution Clinics 2011. These work as follows:

Initial meeting with Bord Bia and a distribution expert. This leads to BB and the expert developing a distribution plan for you. First of these clinics happens in April 2011.

New Product Development

Assistance with this time consuming area.

Access to latest Market Research – both general and sector specific

(as an aside I have used the Bord Bia research a couple of times and it is a really strong resource. However the Bord Bia website(s) are antiquated – their content management is lousy. Just so you know – find a real person in there and speak to them)


access to low cost consumer innovation. This involves your new food product samples being presented to consumer panels with structured feedback. Apparently client feedback on this service is really strong.

Brand Expertise – Brand Forum

By joining this producers get access to 4 workshops a year, share peer knowledge with each other, 5 bigger events and access to mentoring in a variety of brand related marketing areas.

Eileen mentioned a couple of things to finish off:

  • The overseas offices and direct access to marketing graduates in a new programme to be launched in the next month or two who will be available to assist client companies with new brands/projects in those marketplaces.
  • 7th February 2012 was given as a date for the next MarketPlace event – bring Irish suppliers together with National buyers from retailers.
  • There is a pilot project in the South East – a roadshow which will showcase local producers for local procurers – making trade buyers aware of the suppliers around them – did not get much more detail that than.

Marketing Assistance Grants 2011

CLOSING DATE 28th FEB 2011. 60% of marketing spend for branding, quality standards, trade shows – whatever . For companies with turnover between 100k and 3.5M


Bord Bia Small Business Seminar – Jonathan Ryan, Kantar

“Jonathan Ryan will present on how consumer purchasing behaviour has changed in 2010 and how companies can work smarter in 2011 to maximise opportunities in Ireland and the UK” Their website here. They work by assembling information based on analysis of actual consumer behaviour – tracking shopping baskets.

His talk is entitled “The Shopper Landscape”

1. What is influencing consumers

Started with the trend of saving cash – consumers trading down in certain food brand and related to that shopping more in the discounters. Overall the spend on food is 6.4% down.

Recession busting categories:

Home baking and anything relating to consumption at home, lunchboxes snacks and meals, budget and convenience also there (no surprises so!)

2. Retail Landscape

Jonathan presented a series of store report cards – too much detail to capture here. I will put up slides/link to slides if they are available afterwards.

3. How do I grow my brand

There is only one long term way to grow your brand. Develop loyal customers and increase the averageĀ  life time value. Interestingly he does not rate Loyalty Marketing as a sustainable way of achieving this.

So how do you get more trade buyers and increase the value of their purchases from you. He focused on New Product Development (NPD) as the key way of doing this – constantly innovating.


Bord Bia Small Business Seminar – Willie Wixted, ABC Nutrition

I am here at a Bord Bia seminar for food producers and will be blogging from it for the next couple of hours.

Willie’s business (their website here – needs a rework!) started in 2007 with a team of four and they currently employ 10. 4 of those are food technologists. They manufacture sports nutrition products. and had 50% sales growth in 2010 – driven by export sales (73% of turnover). They export to 12 different countries.

How did they grow their business?

In Spain they work with someone they initially met at a trade show and then spent 1.5 years sending him samples. Now he is one of their biggest customers. For Greece he scoured forums (using google translate) and identified targets that way.
Italy happened via a cold call from someone who visited their website. Which was terrible at the time. The Italian found them listed as exhibitors at a relevant trade show and this happened with another customer as well.

Sweden happened differently – they met a consultant who had done a report on the market there who discounted their chances in a saturated and competitive market.
They got into it via a Swedish company who were used as a trade reference by a prospective Chinese supplier. They chased them down like a dog with a bone. (this guy is incredibly tenacious, really impressive!).

Had great words for both Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland because of their local knowledge in overseas markets. He also mentioned the importance of showcasing – working with leading names in whatever sector you are in. On a related theme if you win an award put it on your packaging – use stickers if you have too until you can get the packaging redesigned.

Suppliers and Team

75% of their ingredients are dairy based – purchasing from suppliers like Carbery in Cork. He used this to illustrate how a successful food business leads to significant employment downstream (as opposed to software for example). Was full of praise for the quality of Irish dairy products – the grass based system we have gives us an edge over most other countries. A lot of countries do not have access to the raw materials and they are an ambient export so easy to ship.

He spoke a little about their team and the ongoing investment in their qualifications and scientific knowledge. They assists them with their ongoing R&D – investigating the stress on sportsmen and women across different sports.

Generating Leads

Attending trade shows – both the ones in Ireland for incoming buyers which are run by Bord Bia and also Trade Shows in other countries. On the internet get your site up and then ensure you are listed in those trade show websites – they lead to very targeted traffic. A great fan of working late in the night on the web – people are up still and on forums etc.