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Ireland’s Food, Drink And Horticulture Exports Worth €13bn In 2019

By Donna Ahern
Ireland’s Food, Drink And Horticulture Exports Worth €13bn In 2019

Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture exports reached €13 billion in 2019 compared to €12.1 billion in 2018, according to Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects report 2019/2020.

The report which was published today showed that Irish exports have grown by 67%, or €5.5 billion, since 2010, which is the highest level of exports in Bord Bia’s 25-year history.

“2019 was a watershed year for Ireland’s food and drink industry not only in the total value of exports achieved but also in the make-up of their destination," said Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia.

"For the first time export levels to continental Europe exceeded exports to the UK."

Complex Trading Backdrop


The growth across key categories and priority markets has been achieved against a backdrop of an increasingly complex global trading environment, Bord Bia highlighted.

Shifting commodity prices, weakening confidence in the global economy, along with the increased use of tariffs as an expression of trade policy by the US - directly affecting Irish food and drink exports for the first time - all impacted various sectors of Irish food and drink in different ways in 2019.

Decade of Growth

2019 marks the tenth consecutive year of positive export growth for Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture sector with exports up 67%, or the equivalent of €5.6 billion.

“This decade of consistent and significant growth points to the resilience and innovation that underpins Ireland’s largest indigenous sector," highlighted McCarthy.


"Nearly half of that growth, 48% - €2.7 billion - came from exports to places outside of the EU and demonstrates the importance of continually looking to new horizons in Ireland’s market diversification strategy for our world class food and drink produce."

Sectoral Analysis

Some sectoral highlights from the report include the following:

Exports from the Prepared Foods sector increased by 12% to €2.32 billion, while exports of Prepared Consumer Foods increased by 2% to €2.66bn, with the UK accounting for 67% of these exports.

Spearheaded by strong growth in Irish whiskey, Irish alcohol exports increased by 8% to €1.45 billion in 2019.


Dairy maintained its position as a pillar of Irish food and drink exports, Ireland’s dairy sector grew in value by 11% in 2019 to €4.4 billion, the report showed.

Meat and livestock represented a mixed year for Ireland’s second pillar of exports – meat and livestock – recording a 1% decrease in value to €3.9 billion during the period.

Irish pigmeat export values approached €1 billion for the first time – FY2019 value is estimated at €941 million.

Irish poultry producers delivered another year of export growth, increasing by 5% to €306 million.

2020 Outlook


Commenting on the prospects for Irish food and drink exports in 2020, McCarthy, concluded: "We will face renewed and increased pressure to maintain and grow our premium on the market in the face of global turbulence arising from the outcome of Brexit, US trade policy and China’s growing geopolitical influence on how we produce and consume food."

"That said, our focus remains clear; to deliver broad based sustainable growth for Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and our world class food and drink producers.”

© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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