Slaney Foods International, based in Bunclody Co. Wexford, has secured a deal to supply premium specialty Irish Hereford beef to stores in the United States.

The deal, facilitated due to their relationship with Lidl Ireland, was actively supported by the Irish government food agency Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine. It comes as Irish beef secures a USDA seal of approval after three years of engagement between Bord Bia and the USDA. The decision ensures that Irish beef sold in the U.S. from Bord Bia approved plants can now carry the USDA shield and provide a further guarantee to U.S. buyers and consumers that the unique claims Bord Bia makes are validated by their own national authority.

In the wake of Brexit, and a challenging beef export market, this is welcome news for the Irish beef industry. Rory Fanning, Managing Director for Slaney Foods International said, “Our partnership with Lidl Ireland is very special in terms of the leverage to develop new markets for our product. On a weekly basis we export to Lidl Denmark and we will have lines on the shelves of Lidl in Sweden, Belgium, Slovenia, Romania Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic this summer.

"Our relationship grew from humble beginnings, but Lidl was quick to spot the potential to further develop one of Ireland’s premium food products, grass fed Irish beef. We’ve been very grateful for the support from Lidl, Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture in helping open up the U.S. market to us and we look forward to the American consumer getting a taste of premium grass fed Irish beef.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said, “This is an exciting time in the journey of Irish beef in the USA from initial access for primal cuts in 2015, to access for manufacturing beef in 2016 and the commencement of trade in manufacturing beef earlier this year. As Lidl starts the process of opening stores in the USA, today’s launch of Irish beef to the retail market marks another key step in this journey.”

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy congratulated Lidl on its confidence to bring the new taste of sustainably produced Irish beef from Slaney meats to U.S. customers. “The USDA shield on Irish beef will assist in attracting the U.S. consumer to a new beef taste, a product that is Irish and sustainably produced,” she said.