The Irish food and beverages industry exported food products worth more than £4 billion to the United Kingdom in 2018. The collective exports made by the Irish food and beverages industry grew over 1.5% and were approximately valued at over €4.3 billion. 2018 marked the ninth consecutive year of volume growth in the Irish food and beverages industry.
Among the exports, meat and dairy products held the bulk of the share accounting for over 65% of exports. Although the meat and dairy market in Ireland witnessed a substantial increase in the production volume which was up by more than 45,000 tons, the volatility in the prices saw the value of euro decline thus counterbalancing the profits that could have been generated from meat and dairy. The dairy sector witnessed the largest growth in terms of volume registering an increase of more than 4.5% as compared to 2017. Butter exports soared high and were valued at over €1 billion which was a 22% jump from 2017. The total agricultural produce that was exported in 2018 was valued at more than €13.5 billion including the non-edible products like forestry and oils.
The phenomenal growth was registered as the country battled uncertain weather and volatile markets. Experts are hailing the commendable achievement of the Irish food and beverages industry and anticipate that the ambitious agri-food sector of the company will continue to exploit the global demand for food and dairy around the world.
Further, experts suggested that the demand for Irish meat and dairy will continue an upward journey in the foreseeable future. The demand for meat and dairy product exports is anticipated to continue outstripping the supply and will originate in countries who are not self-sufficient when it comes to dairy or animal-protein production. According to Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board in charge of handling trade negotiations for food and beverages, the demand for meat, dairy and seafood will continue to be on the rise and is expected to come majorly from emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere in the world.
As a result of the phenomenal exports made in 2018, North-Irish based freshly-packaged food provider Avondale Foods registered a record turnover of over €56 million last year. However, the company warned that higher operating costs coupled with the pressure to maintain or reduce existing prices could adversely impact the Irish food and beverages industry. The company further warned that the drastic fluctuations between sterling and euro pose a major threat to their business.
Sneha Varghese is an experienced food & beverage consultant. She covers the latest trends and analysis impacting the food & beverages industry, informing and educating audiences through her writing.