Ireland - Bord Bia

Source: Bord Bia 

The rise in exports across the Irish Sea demonstrated how Ireland remained a ‘key strategic partner’ to the UK, Bord Bia said 

The value of Irish food and drink exports to the UK rose 20% to €5.4bn in 2022, latest data from Irish food board Bord Bia has revealed.

The near €1bn year-on-year increase in exports across the Irish Sea was driven by an increase in the volume of goods exported, which rose by 19% between January and October 2022. Value was also buoyed by a rise in prices due to inflation and rising input costs.

Bord Bia attributed the growth to an “ongoing positive and collaborative partnership between UK and Irish businesses”, with Ireland remaining a “key strategic partner to the UK” that met the needs of customers “to provide high quality, sustainably produced goods that are highly trusted by UK consumers”.

Key highlights included a 14% increase in the value of Irish prepared consumer foods (PCF) to €2bn, with the UK remaining the largest market for the category, accounting for 65% of all Irish PCF exports.

Exports of Irish dairy grew significantly, by 39% to €1.2bn. It means the UK now accounts for 19% of all Irish dairy exports by value. Growth was explained by a return to pre-pandemic trading patterns, with the UK remaining “a key market for cheese and butter, which were the top performers, accounting for 50% of exports”, Bord Bia said. 

Irish beef to the UK also saw strong demand, with sales up 15% to reach €1.1bn, remaining consistent at 43% of total Irish beef exports.

The UK remained “the largest single market for Irish beef exports, reinforcing the importance of Ireland as a key strategic partner and supplier of premium quality grass-fed beef”, the Irish government agency added.

Similarly, Irish sheepmeat sales rose by 15% year on year to €78m. Elsewhere, Irish horticulture exports to the UK increased by 3% to €276m, while Irish drink exports saw a 4% increase to €276m – driven by a 31% increase in Irish Beer export values. 

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Premiumisation was a strong driver for whiskey during the same period with value growing 10% year on year. Bord Bia said “the UK continues to be a strong market despite the challenges caused for exporters by Brexit, accounting for 14% of total Irish drinks exports”.

Demand for Irish seafood also grew strongly last year, and despite the many trading uncertainties as a result of Brexit, the sector grew sales to British buyers by 20% to €50m.

The sector’s strong performance, “delivered amid a profoundly challenging year” due to the impact of the war in Ukraine on global supply chains, was welcomed by Irish minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Charlie McConalogue.

“The strong trading performance of Irish exports once again demonstrates that Ireland continues to be a consistent, reliable and secure partner of the UK food and drink industry,” added Bord Bia UK general manager Donal Denvir.

“The trading challenges we have seen over the last few years seem set to persist in 2023. However, Bord Bia can assure our partners that we will continue to invest in Irish businesses,” he added.

“With our market leading insights, we will continue to provide resources that help to navigate the current climate and capitalise on future opportunities. We are committed to building awareness of the quality and sustainability credentials of Irish food and drink amongst UK consumers and businesses.”