Irish exports bolstered by Beef sales to the UK

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Irish food and drink saw great export success in 2023. Image Getty, Richard Drury
Irish food and drink saw great export success in 2023. Image Getty, Richard Drury

Related tags Export

Ireland’s food and drink exports continued to grow in 2023, boosted by strong sales of Irish beef and a successful trading partnership with the UK.

Board Bia's Export Performance and Prospects report revealed Irish food, drink and horticulture exports were worth €16.3bn (£14.1bn) in 2023. Sales to the UK accounted for 34% of Ireland's food and drink exports, valued at €5.6bn (£4.8bn).

Beef saw the greatest deal of success with a 10% rise in the amount sold overseas in 2023 from 2022, €1.3bn (£1bn) from €1.1bn (£946m) respectively. The UK market now represents 47% of Irish beef exports by value, a growth from 44% in 2022.

Packaged Consumer Food (PCF) exports increased from €1.9 billion (£1.6 billion) in 2022 to €2 billion (£1.6 billion) in 2023, while drinks were valued at €336m – up 19% from €283m in 2022.

‘Resilient and unwavering’

Reflecting on the sector's achievements, Bord Bia UK director Donal Denvir said: “Despite market challenges, Ireland's food and drink industry, bolstered by a strong UK partnership, continues to perform well. Our industry stands out as a resilient and unwavering source of food and drinks our UK partners continue to benefit from.”

However, not all parts of Ireland’s food and drink industry experienced the same amount of export success.

Irish dairy exports were valued at €1bn (£860m) down from €1.2bn (£1bn) in 2022, while horticulture and cereal exports were fell to €273m (£233m) from €281m (£241m) during the previous reported period.

Industry challenges

Challenges such as energy prices, inflation, and labour costs impact 53% of beef companies, indicating a nuanced landscape.

While the horticulture and cereals market experienced reduced volumes, there was an increase in sales value – notably driven by Mushrooms, which comprised nearly 50% of the total export value.

Despite these setbacks, 73% of Irish food and drink exporters expressed optimism for robust market growth in 2024.

Meanwhile, Cameron Gordon, founding partner and head of client growth at Incite, shares advice for food and drink firms in the UK that hope to develop an international export channel.

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