The value of Ireland's food, drink and horticulture exports rose 4% to a record €13.5 billion last year, according to Bord Bia's newly-released Export Performance and Prospects report 2021/2022.
The report, the findings of which were published on Bord Bia's website, reveals that Ireland exported the equivalent of close to €37 million worth of food and drink every day in 2021 to over 180 countries.
The value of Irish food and drink exports last year was 2% higher than the value recorded for pre-COVID-19 pandemic 2019, according to the report.
Dairy Sector, Meat And Livestock, And Prepared Consumer Foods
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The dairy sector was worth over €5 billion in 2021, making it the largest element within Irish food and drink exports, and was followed by meat and livestock, which generated more than €3.5 billion in exports sales, and prepared consumer foods, which were worth over €2.5 billion.
Seafood And Drinks
The value of primary seafood exports rose by 6% to €485 million last year, while the value of drinks exports rose by 19% to €1.62 billion, with the value of whiskey exports increasing by 25% year-on-year to €856 million. However, overall beer exports decreased 3% to €246 million, according to the report.
As noted by Drinks Ireland, Irish cream liqueur exports increased 19% to be worth €367 million last year, while gin grew 38% from a lower base and Irish cider exports recorded a 50% recovery.
34% of Ireland's food and drink exports in 2021 were to markets outside of the EU and the UK, with 33% going to the EU and 33% also going to the UK, according to Bord Bia's report.
Bord Bia Chief Executive Statement
Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy said in a statement published on Bord Bia's website, "The sector's ability to beat its 2019 performance and deliver a record year for Irish exports is truly impressive, and Irish food and drink producers and manufacturers deserve huge credit."
McCarthy added, "Sustainability will continue to be a key focus for Bord Bia both this year and in the years ahead, as we work in partnership with the Irish food, drink, and horticulture industry to meet the Irish government's carbon reduction targets and sustainability challenges. The government's Food Vision 2030 strategy outlines the central role that Origin Green will play in supporting Ireland’s food sector in achieving Ireland's environmental and sustainability goals. We look forward to helping Irish businesses to further embrace sustainability and ensure that Ireland continues to be acknowledged as a leader in sustainable food production."
Minister For Agriculture, Food And The Marine Statement
McCarthy's statement was accompanied by a statement from Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, in which he said, "Our world-class and globally-renowned food and drink sector continues to be one of the brightest shining lights of our economy. Given the difficult external factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and our nearest trading partner the UK moving outside the EU Customs Union, this really was an outstanding export performance by the food and drink sector, supported by Bord Bia. I pay tribute to our farmers, our fishers, and our food producers, as well as the processing and marketing sectors who drove this incredible performance.
"Our food and drink producers continue to innovate and seek new markets for their products, and it is truly heartening to see such an impressive performance from Ireland’s largest indigenous industry."
Drinks Ireland Director Statement
Meanwhile, Drinks Ireland director Patricia Callan stated, "The new figures illustrate the resilience of the Irish drinks industry, which demonstrated strong recovery last year after the difficulties of 2020, with overall exports returning to 2019 levels. The prospects for the drinks sector are broadly positive for 2022, with recovery expected to continue in the spirits sector, despite challenges in relation to inflation across the supply chain. A recovery in beer exports is also anticipated.
"Irish drinks producers continue to demonstrate remarkable innovation in response to trends in export markets. The report highlights the move towards premiumisation, as consumers drink ‘less but better’, and Ireland's quality drinks products fit very well into this niche. There has also been an increase in e-commerce delivery in key markets, as well as a growth in at home cocktail culture."
© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.