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Bord Bia unveils supports for Covid-19 affected businesses

In response to these market conditions, Bord Bia’s bespoke industry wide COVID-19 response for the food, drink, and horticulture sector is built around five key focus areas: understanding, client supports, future-proofing, preparedness, people. Photo: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS.

Bord Bia has unveiled support measures for food, drink, and horticulture businesses affected by COVID-19 as part of the government supports for business.



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21 April 2020

In response to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Ireland’s largest indigenous sector, Bord Bia announced details of its Navigating Change COVID-19 marketing supports response strategy.

The programme includes bespoke supports for producers and food and drink manufacturers, alongside the supports offered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Government Supports for Business.

These supports are framed by the publication of an expert report detailing the extent and nature of the economic shock of COVID-19 disruption, informed by insights from Bord Bia’s markets and sectors teams and its global network.

A new Navigating Change hub has been developed for the Bord Bia website where industry can access details of grants, up-to-the minute market insights, business supports, expert webinars and podcasts. Bord Bia has also announced a €1m marketing grant scheme for manufacturers to assist accelerate eCommerce and expand marketing activities in the context of rapidly changing trading conditions.

A key driver of the Irish economy, Ireland’s food, drink, and horticulture exports reached a record €13bn in 2019, delivering 67% growth in a decade.

“The Navigating Change supports are highly tailored to tackle the specific impacts the COVID-19 crisis is having on the Irish food, drink and horticulture industry. A core dynamic has emerged whereby food and drink companies are seeing a dramatic reduction in demand from foodservice customers countered by spiking demand in retail, for different products. At the same time, factory floor constraints, supply chain challenges and varying international market dynamics all have the potential to cause significant disruption.”, said Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia.

McCarthy continued: “COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for our industry; the scale and enormity of the challenges we face are changing rapidly and so too must our supports. The Bord Bia team around the world is fully committed to supporting the food industry adapt to new market conditions to survive today and to reset with the ambition of winning again as markets recover.”

Bord Bia: Navigating Change COVID-19 response strategy

In response to these market conditions, Bord Bia’s bespoke industry wide COVID-19 response for the food, drink, and horticulture sector is built around five key focus areas:


  • Bord Bia will keep clients up-to-date on the impact of COVID-19 on worldwide trade and the implications for Ireland through 1.
    • The Bord Bia Thinking House which charts consumer insights.
    • The Bord Bia Markets Team which offers global perspectives on international trade and critical issues like global supply chain challenges and.
    • The Bord Bia Sectors Team offering up-to-date sectoral intelligence to manufacturers.
  • A regular Navigating Change: Markets Focus Report will be published bi-weekly detailing supply and demand trends and implications across the supply chain worldwide along with podcasts throughout the week.

Client supports

  • Bord Bia has instigated a number of COVID-19 related supports including:
    • A €1m marketing grant programme to help Irish producers generate demand in a rapidly changing landscape
    • Training and mentoring programmes including Navigating Change supply chain mentoring, lead generation in a changed landscape, think digital training programme.
  • Bord Bia has made immediate and practical changes to Origin Green and Quality Assurance audit procedures during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Bord Bia continues to engage closely with retailers on the Irish market to share supplier challenges and identify new opportunities for companies who can fill supply gaps and provide a compelling offer to consumers.


  • When the immediate and severe impacts of COVID-19 abate, food and drink companies must start planning for a post COVID-19 future. This is a key aspect of Navigating Change and Bord Bia will provide specific supports throughout this crisis – bespoke to each phase so clients can adapt to new market conditions, recover, and reset.
  • With over 3.5 billion people now in lockdown, many new behaviours are being forced upon us, experimented with and are bringing new learnings for businesses worldwide. Understanding consumer behaviour is a critical part of enabling businesses to plan ahead appropriately and to move forward with confidence post COVID-19. According to the research in the University of London, it takes 66 days to change a habit and so in tracking how people behave during crisis, it will allow us to identify new behavioural norms that are likely to emerge.
  • Indicators tracking, from the Thinking House at Bord Bia, is designed with this intent – to allow us understand the behavioural changes that are unfolding. These indicators will allow us to map out the big shifts in consumer behaviour that are manifesting themselves during the crisis with a view to start understanding behaviours that are likely to “stick” and emerge post crisis. Consequently, they allow us to start identifying the implications these newly formed behaviours will have for food and drinks businesses going into the future.
  • Indicators will focus in on themes including: how we are cooking to how we are socialising.


  • Bord Bia work programmes and strategic plans, originally developed under different circumstances, are currently being updated so we are best prepared to serve Irish Food, Drink & Horticulture companies during these unprecedented times.


  • In response to the Covid-19 global health emergency, Bord Bia has acted rapidly, in line with the organisation’s business continuity plan and Government guidance.

Full details of Bord Bia’s Navigating Change COVID-19 Response programme and suite of supports is available at

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