Bord Bia is today launching a new consumer research centre that will allow food companies here to better prepare their products for international sale.

The body is hoping to encourage a doubling in exports by 2025 to €19 billion and hopes its newly-designed 'Thinking House' will help food firms to achieve this. 

The facility gives companies access to information to help them see what products are perfoming well abroad, including trends, consumer insights and information on branding and packaging. 

The centre will also allow companies to conduct focus and discussion groups and includes a small centre for workshops, meetings and presentations.

Bord Bia's Consumer Insight team currently work with over 100 Irish brands a year across all sectors, ranging from small start-ups to large multinationals. Recent research work has extended further into the likes of China, South East Asia and Africa.

Meanwhile, its consumer lifestyle trends programme, which identifies and tracks the biggest trends shaping people's lives over the next three to five years, is based on global quantitative and qualitative research in 21 countries across four continents.

"The recent performance of our food and drink exports, growing by more than 50% over the past six years, and now at just short of €11 billion, has been exceptional in the context of its time, positioning the industry at the heart of our economic recovery," commented Bord Bia's Aidan Cotter. 

"As the industry strives to reach the ambitious export target of €19 billion, the goal set by FoodWise2025, it now requires transformational initiatives to support another step change in export growth.  I believe the establishment of The Thinking House sends a signal of how our industry will seek to compete and will, over time, prove transformational," Mr Cotter stated.