Irish food and drink exports approach €10 billion for the first time
Bord Bia reports increase of 40% in export values since 2009, with double digit growth occurring in dairy and beef export values in 2013
10 January 2014
The value of Irish food and drink exports has approached €10 billion for the first time in 2013, according to new figures released by Bord Bia. This represents an increase of 9% on the previous year and 40% in 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 (€3.3billion) 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. This leading performance in what was a challenging year for the industry, highlights the key role of agri-food, Ireland’s largest indigenous sector, in underpinning exports and economic activity. Export values of almost €10 billion are really impressive, and demonstrate the clear opportunity and benefit of investing in a sector with proven resilience, a significant domestic economic footprint and strong ability to grow. With increasing demand from more affluent consumers in key world markets, 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."
Commenting on the figures, Aidan Cotter, chief executive, Bord Bia said: "Among the highlights of 2013 have been the double digit growth in dairy and beef export values, the strong recovery in sales to eurozone destinations, and the exceptional performance of the industry in China, now Ireland’s second largest dairy and third largest pork market. The industry is well positioned to exploit the relentless growth in the global demand for food, underpinned by its grass-based production systems and its ability to build its presence on both new and established markets".
The UK remains the largest export destination for Irish food and drink with 42% of exports worth an estimated €4.1 billion reaching that market in 2013. Exports of food and drink to other EU markets increased by 11% in 2013 reaching €3.2 billion with the key markets of Germany, France and the Netherlands all recording double digit growth. Strong exports to Asia, and to a lesser extent Russia, contributed positively toward an increase of 6% in the value of trade to international markets, which exceeded €2.6 billion in the period.
Exports to China grew by over 40%, with values trebling over the last three years to reach €390 million in 2013. It is now Ireland’s sixth largest market overall, driven in particular by strong dairy and pork exports. Seafood and beverage exports are also growing solidly albeit from a lower base, while eventual access to the beef market will act to further broaden the industry’s presence in the world’s fastest growing market. The inclusion of hide exports from the beef industry would bring the market’s value overall for the sector to €432 million.
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.
A Bord Bia industry survey carried out among Irish food and drink manufacturers has revealed that exporters remain positive about prospects for their business. In total more than eight out of 10 reported higher or similar turnover in the last 12 months. Innovation remains important for many food and drink companies with 91% of exporters reporting that they had introduced new products in the last three years. What’s more, 75% of exporters expect their export sales to grow in 2014.