The Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine, Michael Creed, has opened the new ‘Prepared Consumer Food Centre’ in Teagasc Ashtown, Dublin to help the sector prepare for Brexit.
Minister Creed highlighted the importance of the Prepared Consumer Foods Sector to Ireland and the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, which traditionally has had low levels of research.
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle welcomed the new centre, saying that the innovation centre will allow PCF manufacturers to “cost-effectively develop new products for commercialisation, address gaps in the food product development pipeline, develop deep consumer insight for target export markets, link with food-related researchers and other companies interested in similar areas of research and have access to pilot equipment for testing products.”
“The Prepared Consumer Foods sector accounted for €2.8 billion in agri-food sector exports in 2017. The UK accounts for 60% of PCF food and drink exports and is therefore significantly challenged by Brexit,” Minister Creed added.
According to the Department, there are over 500 manufacturing units spread across the State, directly employing more than 20,000 people, with the potential to create a significant number of direct jobs across Ireland.
There was a €5 million investment in 2018, which has been used for the purchase of specialist equipment which will provide companies with the opportunity to pilot the equipment, with a view to scaling up their own production and to enable adoption of novel technologies to meet evolving consumer demands and expectations.
“This investment will allow Teagasc to deliver a more responsive service for the Irish PCF sector,” Creed added.
“The investment will underpin technological capability and capacity to enable both researchers and industry to collaborate in private and public research projects in the prepared consumer foods arena.”
In this year’s Budget, Creed announced that he secured another €5 million investment, which he said will be used to provide additional funding for incubation units.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.