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Irish Food and Drink Exports Approach €8 Billion Mark

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Irish Food and Drink Exports Approach €8 Billion Mark

Irish Food and Drink Exports Approach €8 Billion Mark
January 17
12:37 2011

The Republic of Ireland’s food and drink export sales rose by 11% in 2010 to reach €7.9 billion. The increase, amounting to just over €800 million, was supported by a more stable consumer environment, reduced exchange rate pressures, and improved relative competitiveness. It was also boosted by rising global prices for most agricultural commodities.

“The strength of the industry’s export performance is all the more commendable for the fact that it has been achieved in what remains a highly competitive marketing environmentt” points out Dan Browne, chairman of Bord Bia, the trade development and promotion agency for Irish food, drink and horticulture. “All major categories recorded increases, led by dairy, which jumped by more than €300 million or 17%. Meat and livestock exports were almost €200 million higher while beverage and prepared food exports recorded growth of €130 million and €100 million respectively.”

Aidan Cotter (left), chief executive, and Dan Browne, chairman of Bord Bia.

The Irish food and drink industry is continuing to increase its penetration of Continental EU markets. Exports to the mainly eurozone markets increased by 14% during 2010. Continental EU markets now account for 34% of the industry’s total exports of food and drink.

The economy continues to dominate consumer thinking and behaviour throughout many key European markets, where more consumers believe their purchasing power will decrease than increase over the coming two years. The results of the fourth wave of Bord Bia’s Feeling the Pinch survey, completed in late 2010, also shows a high degree of uncertainty remains among Irish and British consumers. Indeed, the only certainty that appears to be emerging is that significant change is unlikely to materialise in 2011 and as the search for value continues, consumers are embracing the ‘new normal’.

Nevertheless, looking ahead to 2011 the prospects for Irish food and drink exports remain positive, helped by strong global demand for commodity products and a relatively tight supply situation in a number of key product categories. “In a year in which the world’s population will reach seven billion, growth in global demand is set to underpin food markets well into the future, albeit with some volatility to be expected,” according to Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia. “The challenge for the Irish food and drink industry is to maintain its current momentum, particularly in the areas of cost competitiveness, innovation and marketing.”

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