Business Irish

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Irish firms stockpile food on unprecedented scale

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy says the Irish food industry is ready to grow. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy says the Irish food industry is ready to grow. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

As many as many as seven in 10 Irish food and drink companies have stockpiled supplies as a guard against Brexit. Half of Irish food sector businesses are holding up to three weeks of stock outside Ireland.

The scale of stockpiling has doubled this year, according to the latest Bord Bia Brexit Barometer 2019 'Results and Actions' report. Managing those stocks will become more complex as food storage units hit full capacity, especially in the run in to the busy Christmas season.

Bord Bia's report found that 93pc of companies have made preparations for Brexit compared to 74pc in 2018. The cost implications of customs, compliance and stockholding have emerged as major areas of concern.

Four months from the next Brexit deadline, 70pc of the companies surveyed have developed contingency options for holding stock in response to Brexit, with 85pc of companies activating those plans. Meanwhile, 92pc of dairy firms have stockholding facilities in the UK.

Bord Bia's research found that the number of firms that have actively mapped their own supply chain has increased significantly - in many cases it has helped managers identify their own critical dependence on a supply.

Nationally, almost half of companies expect Brexit to cost them in the region of 1-10pc. In many cases, that would be driven by the increased costs of being subject to customs including checks, certification and travel delays.

Two-thirds of firms said that Brexit is having an impact on their investment plans in comparison to 50pc last year, while 29pc have put investments on hold and 20pc have delayed or put operational spend on hold.

The latest Bord Bia Barometer shows a shift in focus from growth in the UK to maintaining market share, with 74pc of companies now actively seeking to expand in to new markets.

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said the report shows the resilience and determination at the heart of the Irish food and drinks industry.

"What the Brexit Barometer shows is that our industry is attuned to the issues that lie ahead and both realistic and resolute in the response to them. Eight out of 10 companies plan to maintain or grow sales in the UK, whilst simultaneously three quarters of Irish companies are actively looking beyond familiar marketplaces," she said.

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