Irish Food and Drink Exports Surpass €9 Billion for the First Time

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Irish Food and Drink Exports Surpass €9 Billion for the First Time

Irish Food and Drink Exports Surpass €9 Billion for the First Time
January 10
14:33 2013

The value of Irish food and drink exports in 2012 surpassed €9 billion for the first time, according to new figures released by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board).. This builds upon, and consolidates, the food industry’s exceptionally strong performance over the past three years, with exports currently valued at €2 billion, or 28%, ahead of 2009 levels. The strongest performing categories were meat and livestock (€3 billion), seafood (€493 million) and beverages (€1.26 billion).

The broadening of the food and drink industry’s export reach evident over recent years continued throughout 2012, helped by ongoing demand and a more favourable exchange rate. The weakening of the euro relative to sterling helped boost trade to the UK, where the value of exports increased by 5% (€170 million) to reach €3.8 billion, representing 42% of total Irish food and drink exports in 2012.

Ongoing weakness in many economies across the euro zone combined with more favourable exchange rates with both sterling and the US dollar impacted on trade levels to other EU markets in 2012. For the year exports are estimated to have fallen by 8%. However, following growth of 20% in 2011, Irish food and drink exports to International markets put in another strong performance during 2012 with trade estimated to have increased by 8%, or almost €200 million, to exceed €2.4 billion. As a result, the region now accounts for 27% of total exports. The growth in exports was led by Asia, Africa and North America.

Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive of Bord Bia, comments: “Despite falling global commodity prices, lower output in some sectors and the continued weakness in consumer spending in established markets, the Irish food industry has delivered another robust export performance. The continued diversification into new and emerging markets, benefiting further from favourable exchange rates, should be welcomed with exports to Asia up by 75% since 2010.”

The immediate prospects for Irish food and drink exports in 2013 remain positive, with increased output in some key sectors, most notably beef, combined with more stable global commodity prices expected. However, feed and other input cost developments in the livestock sector will again play a key role in determining farm level performance, following a difficult year for farming due to poor weather conditions and rising costs.

The results of the annual Bord Bia industry survey, completed in December 2012, also show continued confidence among food and drink manufacturers and a strong positive outlook for the year ahead. In total, 77% of exporters reported increased sales over the past 12 months, while 75% expect export sales to increase again in 2013.

Among Bord Bia’s key initiatives this year will be the continued development, global promotion and marketing of its sustainability development programme Origin Green. Since launching in June 2012, some 164 companies accounting for almost 60% of Irish food and drink exports have signed up to the programme. These companies are currently working with Bord Bia to develop, and commit to, sustainability plans setting out clear targets in key areas such as emissions, energy, waste, water, biodiversity and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Individual sustainability commitments submitted by major players within the Irish food industry include a 20% reduction in energy use by 2015; the implementation of rainwater harvesting by 2014 and a 30% reduction in emissions by 2020.


Michael Carey (left), Chairman of Bord Bia, and Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia.

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