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Food firms look to increase staff

IRELAND'S food sector is about to become one of the bright spots of the economy, with 40pc of people in the sector planning to hire more staff this year.

Nearly half of all businesses said that they plan to increase investment in the coming year, a survey shows. It was conducted ahead of the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Association (IFSA) flagship event CATEX 2013.

IFSA chairwoman Julie Morrissey said the success of the sector would be good for the overall economy as the majority of the food sector buy their raw materials from Irish producers.

Key to job creation is the 9pc VAT rate, with nearly half of all respondents saying that this was a factor in their success, helping to sustain as well as create jobs in their business.

A significant percentage of respondents have increased their purchase of local rather than imported produce in the past 12 months – 54pc said they were keen to support home-grown industry in the past 12 months.