Food & Drink Exports over €9bn in 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Food and drink exports have topped €9bn for the first time, up 2pc on 2011, with exports to Asia up 75pc since 2010, according to figures for 2012 released today by Bord Bia.

 “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,” said Aidan Cotter, chief executive, Bord Bia.

“The continued diversification into new and emerging markets, benefitting further from favourable exchange rates, should be welcomed.”

Bord Bia chairman Michael Carey added: “Irish food and drink was a major contributor to the economy’s strong export performance in 2012. Many of the major categories recorded increases, led by meat and livestock which increased by €128m; seafood exports increased by 18pc, or €75 million, while beverage exports recorded growth of €37m.”

The results of the annual Bord Bia industry survey show that in total,77pc of exporters reported increased sales over the past 12 months, while 75pc 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 60pc 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 activities.

Today, Bord Bia also announced plans to recruit ten new ‘Global Ambassadors’, to be jointly funded by Bord Bia and the food industry, as part of a major drive to communicate and promote Ireland’s sustainability and green credentials under the Origin Green umbrella.

Regions to be targeted include Africa, South East Asia, India, and Russia. It is envisaged that the Origin Green ambassadors will specifically target the top global companies around the world, including in Europe and in the US, customers or potential customers, to engage in a two-way dialogue on sustainability. The initiative will be linked to the Bord Bia Marketing Fellowship programme.

The broadening of the food and drink industry’s export reach 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 5pc to reach €3.8bn, representing 42pc of total Irish food and drink exports in 2012.

Ongoing weakness in many economies across the eurozone combined with more favourable exchange rates with both sterling and the US dollar impacted on trade levels to other EU markets in 2012.

Irish food and drink exports to international markets outside the EU put in another strong performance during 2012 with trade estimated to have increased by 8pc to exceed €2.4bn. As a result, the region now accounts for 27pc of total exports. The growth in exports was led by Asia, Africa and North America.

(Source: Sorcha Corcoran)