Performance and Outlook
The Irish food and drink sector recorded the eighth consecutive year of export growth in 2017. It was boosted by increased output in key sectors, rising demand in some major markets and, in line with Bord Bia’s Market Diversification Strategy, the emergence of newer markets for Irish Food and Drink exporters. For the year as a whole it is estimated that the value of food and drink exports increased by 13%, (€1.5bn) to €12.6bn – representing growth of almost 60% or €4.7bn since 2010.
The strongest performers in terms of export growth in 2017 were the dairy sector which comprises a third of the total; followed by seafood, pigmeat, sheepmeat and live animals. Strong competition and market conditions limited growth in the edible horticulture market whilst beef, poultry and prepared foods also achieved lower levels of growth in relative terms.
Trade insight indicates the demand witnessed in the dairy sector in 2017 should continue to yield positive returns
with butter and powders in strong growth mode in key EU and international markets.
Other sectors with good growth prospects include beverages and pigmeat. Prepared foods and edible horticulture will continue
to be susceptible to currency exposure and pressure from UK competitors and retailers.
Destinations for Irish food and drink
Exports to the UK rose by an estimated 7 percent to some €4.4bn despite the ongoing weakness of sterling. However, the share of exports to the UK has continued to fall despite the topline growth figure; the market share for exports to the
UK is now estimated at 35 percent – down two points on last year.
Exports to other EU countries have risen to over €4bn accelerating last year’s growth rate, in line with Bord Bia’s Market Diversification Strategy. This performance was mainly driven by strong dairy exports - which rose by over 40 percent to €1.2bn, as well as enhanced growth for seafood and pigmeat sales and continued strong presence of beverages and prepared foods.
Shipments of Irish food and drink to international markets grew by 17 percent to €4bn underpinned by increases in sales
of dairy, beverages and prepared foods – reflective of Bord Bia’s increased focus on emerging markets through our enhanced route to market network. Expansion was recorded for the year in the Middle East and Asia and Africa, where it grew by almost 30 percent to over €600m, and the United States which recorded robust growth levels to exceed €1bn for the first time.
Overall Export Performance and Prospects Infographic