Brexit preparedness is widespread amongst Ireland’s food and drinks companies at 93%, up from 74% last year, according to Bord Bia’s Brexit Barometer 2019: Results & Actions, published today, Wednesday, June 26.

However, firms are increasingly concerned by the cost implications of customs compliance and stockholding; potential weak links in logistics were also cited and many companies have halted investment plans due to the continued uncertainty of the evolving Brexit landscape, according to the Irish food board.

However, in spite of this, 70% of companies are planning to maintain or grow sales in the UK, the report outlines.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed launched the report today and addressed a gathering of 100 senior figures from Ireland’s food, drink and agri-business sectors alongside Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, and a panel of industry experts from Ireland and the UK.

The third in a series of studies on the Brexit readiness across 130 food and drink companies, Brexit Barometer 2019 is the “factual basis and risk diagnostic tool from which Bord Bia offers a tailor-made suite of supports to Ireland’s largest indigenous industry”, according to the authority.

The UK accounted for 37% of all Irish food and drink exports last year, amounting to trade worth €4.5 billion.

Informed by the findings from the 2019 Brexit Barometer, Bord Bia today expanded the Brexit support services offered to industry to include upskilling on commercial marketing strategy development, as well as key customer management.

This, Bord Bia says, will complement new and existing training in critical areas such as customs compliance, logistics and supply chain and currency management.

To date, Brexit-related support has been provided to over 450 food and drink companies by Bord Bia.

Launching the report, Minister Creed said: “Amidst the continuing uncertainty around Brexit, this report highlights the true value of preparedness.

“My department, working with Bord Bia, has dedicated considerable resources to ensuring that the unique position of the Irish food and drink industry in all Brexit scenarios is firmly understood.

The coming months will bring another Brexit deadline, but it is encouraging to see that our industry is doing all it can to prioritise what it can control in facing these challenges.

Presenting the findings of the 2019 Brexit Barometer, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy highlighted that it points to a “year of emphatic progress as Ireland’s largest indigenous industry prepares for one of its most significant challenges ever”.

Noting the “spirit of resilience and determination” in the Irish food industry she added:

“What the 2019 Brexit Barometer shows is that our industry is attuned to the issues that lie ahead and both realistic and resolute in its response to them.

Seven out of 10 companies plan to maintain or grow sales in the UK, whilst three quarters of Irish companies are actively looking beyond familiar marketplaces.

“This process is gaining momentum as planning around Brexit translates into concrete actions in the months ahead.”