Bord Bia reports export growth in prepared foods, beverages

Prepared food exports showed positive growth in 2014, according to Bord Bia, and were led by dairy-based enriched powders, which now account for 40% of total exports within the category.

Currency movements during the year helped competitiveness in the UK market in particular. However, the sector continued to face considerable challenges in the form of price pressure and promotional requirements from customers and increasing numbers of competitors.

Overall, exports of products covered under the prepared foods category increased by 8% to an estimated €1.8 bn, Bord Bia reported in its Export Prospects and Performance 2014/15 report. Across all food and drink categories, €2.2bn worth of exports in 2014 could be classified as Prepared Consumer Foods, it said.

This represents a growth of 7% on 2013, Bord Bia says, which equates to 21% of total food and drink exports.

“The strongest performing categories during the year were dairy based enriched powders, bakery, chocolate confectionery as well as meat based ingredients and meals. Pizza exports were reasonably stable while biscuits and sugar based confectionery reported lower exports.”

Exports to international markets for products covered under the prepared foods heading led growth in the category with a double digit increase recorded. This was driven largely by dairy based enriched powders to Africa and Asia.

The outlook for many prepared food categories is relatively positive for 2015, albeit with the usual competitive pressures persisting, it says.

The outlook for dairy-based enriched powders is largely dependent on developments in the dairy sector, which seems set to remain difficult during the first part of the year.

Key drivers of growth for the sector will be product development in relation to new products and formats and the delivery of customer service levels that can set Irish exporters apart.

The global beverages market in 2014 showed further growth as the market benefits from increased demand for premium alcoholic beverages, Bord Bia reported.

It says that this has helped offset ongoing subdued demand in many developed markets arising from the sluggish economic environment. Key growth regions include Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa.

Irish beverage exports put in a robust performance in 2014 driven by ongoing growth in whiskey combined with further growth in ‘craft’ exports. This helped to offset slower beer, cream liqueur and cider sales. Exports of non-alcoholic beverages were boosted by strong sales of waters and juices. Overall, exports are estimated to have increased marginally in 2014 to stand at €1.21bn.

The UK performed reasonably well, Bord Bia reported, with strong sales of waters, whiskey and juices more than offset reduced beer, cream liqueur and cider exports.