Enterprise Ireland-supported companies in the food and drink sector spent €165 million on R&D activities in 2023

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Enterprise Ireland-supported companies in the food and drink sector spent €165 million on R&D activities in 2023

Enterprise Ireland-supported companies in the food and drink sector spent €165 million on R&D activities in 2023
July 01
10:53 2024
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Enterprise Ireland saw investment in R&D activities by companies it supports in the Food and Drink sector reach €165 million in 2023. 123 companies operating in the sector spent €100,000 or more on R&D activities in 2023.

Over the past decade, Enterprise Ireland has invested more than €10 million in High Potential Start Up (HPSU) companies operating in the Food and Drink sector. In 2023, Enterprise Ireland invested in 15 emerging food and drink start-ups.

The figures were announced as more than 400 senior leaders from the food and drink sector, innovation experts, policymakers and key stakeholders from across the research ecosystem attended Enterprise Ireland’s Food Innovation Summit in Croke Park, Dublin.

Returning for the second year in a row, the only dedicated Food Innovation Summit to take place in Ireland turned the spotlight on the innovation capability within the Irish food and drink industry and the strength of Ireland’s research ecosystem. The event aimed to further raise awareness of the role of innovation as a driver of growth and prosperity.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Peter Burke TD, highlighted the economic impact of the food and drink industry and the role of innovation in driving growth in the sector. “Irish food and drink businesses are a significant contributor to Ireland’s economy, supporting almost 60,000 high-quality jobs across every region in Ireland,” he stated. “Innovation is essential to maintaining our competitive edge, and the Government is committed to supporting the sector to increase investment in innovation, digitalisation and sustainability so these food and drink businesses can continue to compete and win in global markets. The Food Innovation Summit provides an important platform to showcase Ireland’s leadership in food and drink innovation and a unique opportunity for businesses to network, collaborate, and advance their innovative capabilities.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD said: “As home to world recognised agri-food research agencies coupled with a global reputation for food quality and safety, Ireland is well placed to lead out in meeting the dual imperatives of food production and environmental protection. I would like to thank Enterprise Ireland for organising this important event, highlighting the significant innovation capability and collaboration that is taking place across the Irish Food and Drink industry and for emphasising the strength of the food research ecosystem that we have here in Ireland.”

Enterprise Ireland Chairman Michael Carey said: “Innovation is the cornerstone of a sustainable and competitive food and drink industry in an increasingly competitive global market. The current levels of investment in R&D among Ireland’s food and drink industry provides a strong foundation to build on. However, increased investment in research and innovation by these companies is vital to strengthen productivity, improve both sales and margins, and accelerate the scaling journey.

“Enterprise Ireland is here to support these companies on that journey. The Food Innovation Summit aims to create a conversation with the Irish food and drink industry around how to increase and enhance levels of research and innovation and create solutions that will ensure the long-term viability and success of the sector.”

Panel discussions on the future of the sector, how technology is transforming food for all, scaling through innovation and market-driven innovation were held throughout the day, with contributions from global leading Irish and Food FDI companies including Strong Roots, Flahavans, Kerry Foods, retail/food service buyers, and key stakeholders including Teagasc, Bord Bia and Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

“It’s important to acknowledge the remarkable support provided by key Government departments and partners including Bord Bia, Teagasc, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as well as our excellent third level institutes, Food Technology Centres and the Food Technology Gateways,” Michael Carey added. 

The Food Innovation Summit also provided a launchpad for exciting new Irish food and drink start-ups. These innovators shared their journeys of bringing disruptive ideas to market, focusing on personalised nutrition, the circular economy, sports nutrition, and functional beverages.

Enterprise Ireland also has responsibility for Food and Drink Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) recognising the connected nature of the food supply chain in Ireland and the specialist skills that exist within the agency to deliver value to this important cohort of Irish based businesses. With a vast network of connections, Enterprise Ireland helps investors to identify investment opportunities, develop manufacturing & R&D centres as well as facilitating strategic partnerships, access to local suppliers, service providers, and research institutions.

The event also shone a light on the strength of Ireland’s food research ecosystem and the innovation capability within the sector. 20 representatives of the ecosystem including Food technology Centres, Food Gateway centres and other associated institutes showcased their areas of expertise as well as building their connection to the industry.


Pictured (l-r): Jenny Melia, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland; Minister Peter Burke TD; Margaret McArdle, Enterprise Ireland; Minister Charlie McConalogue TD; and Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland.

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