According to Bord Bia’s latest Export Performance and Outlook report, €16.7 billion worth of food, beverages and horticultural products were exported from the Republic last year, an increase of 22% or €3 billion year-on-year.
The performance exceeded expectations despite the effects of the war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures on producers and Covid-related global supply chain problems.
The agency said the “substantial increase” in food and beverage exports could be attributed both to higher unit prices due to inflation and higher input costs, and to higher volumes of the exported goods.
As the UK now operates outside the European Union customs union, there were concerns about possible barriers to trade there.
However, according to the latest figures, the UK remains the largest single country market for Irish food and beverage exports, with exports expected to reach an estimated €5.4 billion in 2022, a 20% increase from 2021 levels. I’m here.
“Irish exporters have navigated a great deal of uncertainty regarding the new trading environment with the UK and, more recently, the rapidly decelerating UK economy,” said Mr Bord Bia.
More than a third (34%) of the Republic’s food and beverage exports go to international markets outside Europe, with the EU and the UK accounting for 34% and 32% respectively.
Irish dairy exports were valued at €6.8 billion last year, up 33% or €1.7 billion year-on-year. This was mainly driven by Irish butter (up 26%) and cheese (up 25%). .
Dairy products remain the largest component of the state’s food and beverage exports, with more than 1.7 million tonnes of product shipped to more than 130 markets worldwide.
This was followed by meat and livestock exports worth more than €4 billion last year. It represents a 15% year-on-year increase in value (+€520 million).
Product prices rose across all meat categories, but Bord Bia said the “strong performance” also reflected higher production volumes.
Among other categories, consumer ready-to-eat exports surpassed €3 billion and Irish beverage exports increased as food service businesses reopened as Covid-19 restrictions eased. amounted to almost €2 billion (+22% year-on-year). For the first time, a price increase of 25% from pre-pandemic (2019) levels. This “reflects the sector’s extraordinary recovery and current growth after a difficult year in 2020 and his 2021”.
North America remains a major export market, accounting for 52% of total exports at just under €1 billion, while Irish whiskey exports accounted for 60% of overall value growth last year, the agency said. rice field.
Agriculture, Food and Oceans Minister Charlie McConnalog welcomed the sector’s results, saying, “It has been a very difficult year for the sector, most notably the effects of the war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures on producers and the ongoing Covid-19 chaos to global supply chains.
“In the context of this difficult global trading environment, Ireland continues to maintain its reputation as a world-class sustainable food producer and supplier, and has successfully secured new business in new markets around the world. increase.
Newly appointed Bord Bia Chief Executive Officer Jim O’Toole said the industry’s performance in the face of these challenging market conditions was “extremely commendable.”
“After two years of severe disruption, 2022 brings with it a new range of cost and sourcing challenges, making this year’s export performance even more impressive. It’s a testament to the resilience of one of our most important export industries.”