Bord Bia aims to boost Irish meat exports by 11% in three years

Bord Bia aims to boost Irish meat exports by 11% in three years

As Bord Bia’s latest report shows that Irish food and drink exports to the UK have remained stable despite recent challenges, the board has also published new three-year targets.

The organisation’s Export Performance and Prospects report 2021/2022 has revealed that exports of Irish food, drink and horticulture to the UK have remained constant in value at €4.4 billion, compared to 2020.

It’s estimated by Bord Bia that Ireland exports about 90% of its food and drink production. The UK remains a primary export market for Ireland. In 2021, 33% of Ireland’s total food and drink exports were destined for the UK, 34% headed for international markets outside the UK and EU and 33% to the EU.

The report found that sheepmeat exports remained consistent with 2020 levels at €68 million, whilst Irish beef exports to the UK were down marginally by 2% to €883 million. This is explained, in part, by a slow start for demand in the first quarter of 2021. Bord Bia claims that this was due to contingency planning in case of a no-deal Brexit and subsequent stockpiling in the last quarter of 2020.

Volumes of Irish beef, however, increased month on month following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the opening of foodservice and more experience with the new trading realities. The UK is still the largest single market for Irish beef exports.

New three-year targets

Bord Bia has also published new three-year targets that it hopes will further contribute to the growth in the value chain of Irish food and drink exports as part of the launch of its new 10-year Statement of Strategy.

The plan details an expansion in the value growth of Irish food and drinks exports during the period, including an 11% increase in the value of meat and livestock exports.

Sustainability is a core theme within the new strategy that, as Bord Bia said, will allow the organisation to “strengthen its supports and standards to reflect the high level of ambition required to meet both environmental challenges and market demands.”

“A record year”

Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy said that 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 that the industry needed to be cognisant of a number of key trends for this year, which were a combination of emerging issues and a longer-term shift in consumer behaviour and attitudes. These include increased supply chain and input costs, which are affecting producers and processors, and the ongoing impact of Brexit.

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