A total of €9m is set to be spent by consumers at Bloom this weekend, with the potential for up to €34m to be spent with exhibiting companies after the event. 

Bloom, created by Bord Bia, is the country's largest gardening, food and drink festival and is taking place in the Phoenix Park in Dublin over the weekend.

Bord Bia hosted more than 200 national and international buyers for a trade breakfast in the Food Village at Bloom this morning.

It introduced 100 Irish food and drink exhibitors to 200 buyers including Partridges, TJX (Homesense and TK Maxx), Sourced Market and EAT from the UK. 

Among the Irish buyers were some of Ireland's largest retailers including Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Lidl, Aldi alongside specialist retailers such as Donnybrook Fair, Fallon and Byrne and Butler's Pantry. 

Prominent buyers in the Irish food service sector at the event included Dalata Hotel Group, the biggest hotel chain in Ireland; Retail in Motion, responsible for on-board retail with airlines across five continents; Freshly Chopped food chain, Circle K/Topaz, Applegreen, BWG and Musgrave Wholesale Partners.

Tara McCarthy, Bord Bia's chief executive, said that Bloom offers a powerful platform for Ireland's thriving craft food and drink sector to showcase their products and is the ideal opportunity to engage with potential buyers. 

"This is a significant show of confidence in the Irish food and drink industry and a testament to the work that is being done in both markets to ensure strong future trade relationships between our countries," he added.