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Huge Potential For Irish Food and Drink Industry But Significant Barriers Remain For SMEs

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Huge Potential For Irish Food and Drink Industry But Significant Barriers Remain For SMEs

Huge Potential For Irish Food and Drink Industry But Significant Barriers Remain For SMEs
September 10
21:40 2014

The export-focused Irish food and drink industry has a solid foundation for growth but barriers remain for indigenous small and medium sized manufacturers, according to Michael Carey (pictured), chairman of Bord Bia. With Eur10 billion of exports annually and rising, the industry is a key contributor to Ireland’s economic recovery.

As a food and drink production base Ireland’s success is based in three key factors. Its mild climate gives it a competitive edge in terms of high quality and natural food production with a low carbon footprint. Indeed, Bord Bia’s ongoing ‘Origin Green’ campaign is being successful in promoting Ireland as a world leader in sustainably produced food and drink products.

The Irish food and drink industry has also developed a number of world class food businesses with outstanding management teams such as Kerry Group and Glanbia.

The third factor supporting the continued growth of the industry is a cohesive Government development plan supported by all stakeholders, with State agencies such as Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc, working well together.

“The scale of opportunities facing us as an industry is beyond our dreams,” said Michael Carey when addressing the ‘Innovation for Sustainable Growth’ Conference and Exhibition held on Wednesday, September 10th at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Indeed, the growth potential of the Irish food and drink industry is attracting increasing levels of foreign direct inward investment.

However, there are significant barriers to growth for indigenous SMEs. “The biggest single issue is lack of scale and fragmentation,” he pointed out. “Lack of access to finance is also still a barrier.”

To overcome the lack of scale amongst SMEs, Bord Bia has been actively supporting the principle of ‘co-opetition’, where food companies work together to create synergies resulting in cost savings, improved returns and reputation, and increased market distribution.

In addition to his role at Bord Bia, Michael Carey is currently Executive Chairman of The Company of Food, which offers a diverse combination of food industry strategic, commercial, branding and operating experience, and partners with companies to help them develop focused revenue and profit growth strategies.

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