Sector News

ABP Foods becomes first European firm to secure US beef deal

February 10, 2015
Food & Drink
Larry Goodman’s ABP Foods has become the first European company to sign a major deal to supply beef in the US since the lifting of the embargo.
 
The Louth-based processor has agreed to supply US giant Sysco, one of the world’s largest food distributors, in a deal said to be worth up to €15 million a year.
 
The company’s premium beef cuts will be sold to premium steak houses and restaurants through Sysco Metro New York and Sysco Boston, with the first shipments expected to commence next month.
 
Long relationship
ABP secured the US contract through its long-standing relationship with Sysco’s Irish subsidiary, Pallas Foods.
 
“We look forward to developing and growing our partnership with Sysco which will be key in helping us bring our sustainable, grass-fed, hormone free Irish beef to the plates of US consumers,” said ABP’s chief executive Paul Finnerty.
 
“Our initial focus will be on the northeastern region of the US where we will concentrate on establishing Irish beef in a sustainable and measured way,” he said.
 
The company could grow its annual exports of beef to the US well beyond the €15 million annual deal, Mr Finnerty said, stressing that the US market might be tougher than expected.
 
“This is a ruthlessly competitive market,” he told The Irish Times. “I think sometimes in the industry we tend to go from an extreme of pessimism to maybe extremes of optimism.
 
“The way I would describe today, it is a very important day for the industry. It is a very important market that has opened up.”
 
High-end restaurants
ABP and Sysco will target supplying Irish beef to high-end restaurants and the next level below that in the New York and Boston areas, playing on the grass-fed premium and to Irish-American diners.
 
Mr Finnerty said beef producers in Australia and Uruguay were selling grass-fed meat into the US market at lower prices than from Ireland, so Irish producers had to try to operate at the top end of the market, targeting the Irish diaspora.
 
Irish beef products would appeal to US consumers because of the health and nutritional benefits and the fact the meat comes from “extensive farming rather than intensive farming”, he said.
 
Michael Scanlon, president of Sysco, said the company sells about 10,000 items to around 1,000 customers, mostly restaurants, every day.
ABP has had a sales manager in the US for the past two years, in advance of the ban ending.
 
The company’s Clones, Co Monaghan processing facility is one of two plants already cleared by the Department of Agriculture to export to the US.
 
Applications pending
A number of other Irish meat processors are also understood to have applications pending with the department.
 
In 2013, the Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan, then owned by ABP Foods, was at the centre of the horse meat scandal in Ireland after it was found to have manufactured a burger that contained horse DNA.
 
The addition of horse meat to beef products was later found to be a Europe-wide problem.
 
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who is on a three-day trade promotion mission to the US to mark the ending of the embargo, said ABP can be “very proud” to be the first European company selling beef into the US in 15 years.
 
“Partnering with large US food companies like Sysco is the perfect way to bring the taste and quality of Irish beef to US consumers, and I wish them every success in this venture,” he said.
 
Mr Goodman has been ABP’s executive chairman since 2008.
 
By Eoin Burke Kennedy,  Simon Carswell
 
Source: Irish Times

comments closed

Related News

May 21, 2022

Cécile Béliot becomes Bel Group CEO

Food & Drink

Cécile Béliot has assumed the role of Bel Group chief executive officer, following the decision to separate the roles of chairman and CEO. The separation of the functions will enable Bel Group to develop in three areas of healthy snacking. Meanwhile, the company’s former CEO, Antoine Fiévet, has had his mandate renewed as chairman of the board.

May 21, 2022

“Corporate greed and dereliction of duty”: FDA commissioner slammed over infant formula shortage

Food & Drink

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf was grilled by lawmakers during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, where he was slammed over the agency’s handling of the escalating infant formula shortage.

May 21, 2022

Sweegen hails antioxidants and bitter blocking tech a turning point for sugar reduction and healthy aging

Food & Drink

Sweegen is ramping up its efforts to reduce sugar across F&B applications while simultaneously tapping into the benefits of using antioxidants and bitter blocking technology. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Casey McCormick, vice president of global innovation at Sweegen, says product developers can find a broad range of solutions in Sweegen’s nature-based sweetener systems as brands elevate better-for-you foods.