The approval, announced at Anuga, secures access for Kepak to the US beef burger market that is currently valued at over $122bn.
This USDA value added beef patty approval will see Kepak’s grass-fed, fully traceable and hormone-free Irish beef being made available to the foodservice and retail sectors with distribution initially focusing on the New York and Boston markets.
The development follows the successful launch in 2017 of the first Irish beef retail brand in the United States, Kepak’s Celtic Beef Company, and means Irish beef in burger patty format will be available in the United States for the first time.
John Horgan, managing director of the Kepak Group, said: “We are delighted to be the first meat processor in Europe to attain USDA approval for the sale of our high-quality value-added beef burger patties into the US market. This announcement will see Kepak’s renowned Irish beef burger patties made available in pubs and restaurants from Monaghan to Manhattan and Massachusetts.
“Kepak North America, the Group’s sales and marketing office in USA, has been busy growing the sales our Irish beef since the launch of our Celtic Beef Company brand a number of years ago and this new burger range will enhance our foodservice offering and allow us to build upon the tremendous success in retail channels that we have already enjoyed in the region. It is also a commitment by Kepak to add value where possible to Irish meat and to support employment in rural communities.”
Also commenting on the deal, the Irish Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle added: “With Brexit on the horizon, the current environment for business is challenging, particularly for the beef sector, and developing and growing new markets is a key response to these challenges.
“This announcement is most welcome news, particularly for the local community in Monaghan where this meat will be produced. Today’s news is a testament both to the high-quality beef that Irish farmers are world famous for producing and to the market access work of my Department in cooperation with the US authorities.”