The value of Irish food and drink exports approached €10 billion for the first time in 2013, according to new figures released by Bord Bia.
While the past five years have been difficult for many industries, the food and beverage sector has shown remarkable resiliance and steady growth particularly in the export market despite the recent horse meat scandal. According to Bord Bia, the near €10 billion figure is a 9% increase over 2012 and there has been 40% growth over the last four years with revenues almost €3 billion higher than in 2009.
Export values for dairy product and ingredients exceeded €3 billion for the first time and strong performances for meat and livestock (€3.3 billion) and prepared foods (€1.65 billion) all contributed to the positive outcome.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD said “Significant growth in 2013 has brought export values in the Irish food and drink sector to record levels. There is little doubt that the €12 billion export target set out in the industry-led strategy for the agri sector Food Harvest 2020 is well in sight.”
The market environment for Irish food and drink remains positive for the year ahead, boosted by the strong growth recorded in 2013. A further rise in output is expected across key sectors and ongoing strong demand is anticipated in emerging economies. Much will depend on developments in more established markets and consumer sentiment will remain a critical driver.
Industry sentiment remains positive with some 75% of exporters expecting their sales to grow in 2014. In total more than 8 out of 10 reported higher or similar turnover in the last 12 months.
Despite significant inroads being made into various Asian and middle eastern markets, Ireland’s biggest customer remains the UK where 42% of Irish exports are shipped to.