04 Feb 2020 | 08.58 am
Food And Drink Exports Top €13bn
Bord Bia Export Performance and Prospects report 2019/2020
04 Feb 2020 | 08.58 am
The publication of Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects report 2019/2020 by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD, revealed a strong 2019 performance by Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture industry, as exports reached €13bn for the first time. This brings to a close a decade of consistent and extraordinary growth in which food, drink and horticulture exports grew by 67%, or €5.5bn. Padraig Brennan, Meat, Food and Beverages Director with Bord Bia, explains the rapid improvements.
What is driving this extraordinary growth?
2019’s record performance for Irish food, drink and horticulture exports is testament to the resilience and world-class product quality among our indigenous producers. This growth was achieved against a backdrop of an increasingly complex global trading environment.
A diversified approach to increasing our reach within the global marketplace yielded a strong performance recorded across most sectors and categories. For the first time, export levels to continental Europe exceeded exports to the UK in 2019, while Irish food and drink produce is now exported to over 180 countries worldwide.
Sustainability represents an increasingly important driver of exports, particularly across well-established markets. The strengths of Ireland as highlighted through the Origin Green Sustainability programme resonate well with the sustainable sourcing commitments of leading customers. These strengths also play to the drive to build a premium positioning for Ireland that can benefit farmers and exporters alike.
What role does sustainability play in this growth?
We expect sustainability and the ability of the Irish food and drink sector to prove and improve our credentials and to play a key role in shaping the market environment for food and drink exports.
Research undertaken by Bord Bia among trade customers and consumers in 11 markets across Europe, Asia and North America clearly highlighted the growing importance of sustainability in driving purchasing decisions. The research also highlighted the need for Origin Green to evolve on an ongoing basis and be in a position to anticipate the changing needs of key customers.
How will Bord Bia continue its focus on sustainability?
Bord Bia has increased the focus on areas such as plastics and packaging in Origin Green through tailored packaging workshops and clinics, in conjunction with Repak.
Similarly, the scope of the sustainability charter for food manufacturers continues to evolve, requiring members to deliver on a greater number of target areas and recognising those that make the most progress. At farm level, enhanced measurements and feedback are planned to help drive further impact.
Bord Bia is also focused on developing verified proof points that can help differentiate Irish food and drink products in the marketplace. The first example of this is the development of a verified grass-fed standard for Irish dairy, with a similar standard nearing completion for beef.
These standards will allow Ireland to make stronger claims regarding our grass-based system of production and the natural product attributes that it delivers.
PHoto: Padraig Brennan, Meat, Food and Beverages Director with Bord Bia