Bord Bia reports record high €10.8bn of food and drink exports in 2015
Food and drink exports increased by 3pc to reach a record €10.8bn last year according to a review carried out by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.
The food and drink sector reported its sixth consecutive year of export growth last year with increased output, favourable exchange rates and better returns for beef, seafood and beverages helping offset the dairy pricing crisis.
Beverages, beef and seafood showed the strongest export growth last year with increases of 10pc, 6pc and 4pc respectively.
Speaking at the release of Bord Bia's Export Performance and Prospects Report 2015/16, chief executive Aidan Cotter said:
“Irish food exporters registered record growth, increasing exports by some €355m in a period when global food commodity prices declined by approximately 19pc, the Russian market was effectively closed to EU food exports, and consumer sentiment remained sluggish across the Eurozone.
"This year will present further opportunities for growth in most sectors notwithstanding challenges from continued global dairy price pressures through the early months of 2016," Mr Cotter said.
Irish whiskey exports proved to be the biggest driver in the beverages category. It is estimated that whiskey exports grew by approximately 18pc.
Despite difficult trading conditions dairy exports grew by 4pc in the face of plummeting prices. This reflects the strong growth in the demand for specialist nutrition powders which increased by 25pc overall and 40pc to China alone.
Speaking at the launch of the report today, minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Simon Coveney, welcomed the growth figures.
“The food and drink industry has been a driving force in our economic recovery since 2009, delivering cumulative export growth of 51pc. Irish producers and companies have yet again demonstrated in 2015 their ambition, innovativeness and ability to meet buyer and consumer needs in highly competitive and complex trading environments”.
Growth occurred in Irish food exports also. The US remains Ireland's second largest exporter for food with exports to the states growing by 40pc to an estimated €755m.
Exports to China grew by 16pc, holding its position as Ireland's fifth most important market and the second most important for dairy.
Bord Bia also today published its new Statement of Strategy, 2016 – 2018, “Making a World of Difference”. The document sets out the key forces driving change in the marketplace and the strategic pillars that will guide the agency’s activities in the period ahead. It includes a renewed focus on routes to market and the importance of building its international market presence.