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Value of Irish food and drink exports drops as inflation hits consumer spending

Bord Bia’s latest export performance and prospects latest report also cited significant downward pressure on trade prices.

The value of Irish food, drink and horticulture exports declined by 4 per cent last year to €16.3 billion as inflation and cost-of-living pressures impacted consumer spending.

Bord Bia’s latest export performance and prospects latest report also cited “significant downward pressure on trade prices” as a reason for the decline.

The 2023 performance follows a record-breaking performance in 2022 when exports jumped 22 per cent.

Bord Bia noted that the value of exports remains 24 per cent higher than 2019 “and the industry’s ability to retain much of the growth from 2022 represented a solid performance in a challenging global marketplace”.

The dairy sector, which accounts for almost 40 per cent of overall Irish food and drink exports, saw export values decline by 8 per cent to €6.3 billion last year with a decline in the value of butter and casein exports partly offset by increases in the value of cheese, specialist nutritional powders, yoghurt, and whole milk powder.

The value of meat and livestock exports was largely stable at €4.2 billion, as increases in the value of beef, poultry and live exports were offset by lower sheepmeat and pig meat exports.

The value of drink exports, which is dominated by whiskey sales, declined by 8 per cent to €1.8 billion due largely to short-term market factors in the North American spirits sector.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue notedthat the value of Irish food and drink exports surpassed the €16 billion mark for the second year in a row and that the sector’s overall exports when non-food products are included was €18.5 billion. ”

This is a significant achievement given that we are living through a period of huge flux, with climate change, inflation, geopolitical instability, and cost of living challenges all affecting the global economy and export performance,” he said.

Eoin Burke – Kennedy © Irish Times 2024