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Monday 22 September 2014

Beef sales lead way as food exports rocket 9pc

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

Published 25/07/2013 | 05:00

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THE horsemeat scandal is still putting Irish consumers off frozen burgers, but it has done nothing to dampen demand for Irish beef abroad.

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The latest Bord Bia figures show Irish food and drink exports boomed by 9pc in the first six months of the year, with beef exports leading the way with 15pc growth.

However, supermarket sales figures reveal that even the barbecue weather hasn't fully persuaded consumers to go back to burgers since the horsemeat scandal decimated sales earlier this year.

New retail data from market analysts Nielsen shows that despite the heatwave, frozen burger sales are still lagging behind last year's figure, with sales in the four weeks to July 7 down 13.5pc.

Analyst Ruth Lloyd Evans said there had been some improvement since sales plummeted by nearly 50pc in April at the height of the horsemeat scandal, "but it's still negative on last year".

STRIKING

However, in Britain market data indicates consumers have put the horsemeat scandal behind them with sales of fresh and frozen burgers now 18pc higher than last summer.

Exports of Irish beef had been particularly striking in the first half of this year with a 10pc increase in volume and price growth of 5pc, said Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter.

Prime Irish cattle were currently fetching higher prices than the EU average, with strong demand for meat from the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme.

In total, Irish food and drink exports rose by €370m in the first six months of 2013 to €4.7bn.

Exports of prepared foods grew by 15pc while dairy and drink each rose by 4pc and pigmeat exports grew by 9pc.

The UK remained by far the biggest destination, taking 41pc of Irish food and drink exports. Sales to Asia have also risen by 15pc to reach €270m.

Irish Independent

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