Markets ‘likely to present growth opportunities’ by sector identified

The findings of a new report that has identified markets that are “likely to present growth opportunities” by sector were published this morning (Monday, May 28).

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, recently released the findings of the “in-depth reports into international markets for Irish food and drink exports”.

Commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and coordinated by Bord Bia, the report – entitled ‘Prioritising Markets: Opportunities for Growth’ – identifies the 15 markets by sector that are likely to present growth opportunities.

Markets have been identified for the meat, dairy, prepared consumer foods, beverages, and seafood sectors; these markets are expected to present growth opportunities over the next five to 10 years, against the capability of Ireland to supply those markets.

Bord Bia confirmed that an in-depth study on the top five markets by sector is completed for some sectors and close to completion for others.

The report intends to offer concise overviews of 75 in-depth studies conducted across a range of priority markets, reportedly representing the most detailed study of international opportunity ever undertaken on behalf of the Irish food and drink industry.

Over 180 markets were screened using macro-economic and sector specific criteria weighted and assessed for each category.

Initial screening included factors such as: size of middle class; urbanisation; rate of growth in food market; imports; prices and tariffs; population projections; income per capita; market access; and ease of doing business.

Exporters will find up-to-date information on international market size and trends; analysis of sectoral levels of self-sufficiency; competitor details; price-point data; and information on technical issues related to trading with each individual country.

The track record of the Irish industry’s performance to date in each market is also assessed, Bord Bia said. The market prioritisation analysis is set to be be reviewed annually.

Next step

Following the publication of the report’s findings, Bord Bia – on behalf of the Irish meat industry – now plans to conduct further deep-dive analysis on five markets across Asia and Mexico.

Meanwhile, a similar approach will be undertaken with the dairy industry – however, the deep-dive work will focus solely on Asia, the Irish food board added.

The seafood industry’s top markets for further analysis are across a number of continents – while the focus for beverages is the US, the EU, and Asia. Key markets chosen for prepared consumer foods are most likely to be in the Middle East and the EU.

Commenting this morning, Minister Creed said: “The publication of today’s reports represent the most detailed and broad-ranging study of international opportunity ever undertaken on behalf of the Irish food and drink sector.

Over the last six years, the value of Irish dairy exports has increased by 11%, the value of our beef exports by almost 50%, cereals and cereal preparations by 59%, seafood and seafood exports by 50%, forestry exports doubled from €112 million to €226 million and sheepmeat exports increased by 70%.

“Notwithstanding this significant success, we must – in the light of Brexit – intensify our efforts further to diversify those international markets that offer the best potential for growth.

The findings from the market prioritisation report were published this morning

“The publication of today’s reports by Bord Bia provides the insights to help Irish companies identify potential leads, better understand the needs and requirements of overseas customers and understand the mechanics of doing business in the market,” he said.

Growth opportunities

Previously, Bord Bia found that total agri-food exports from Ireland exceeded €13 billion last year.

It added that despite the UK and European markets remaining “vitally important” for Irish food and drink manufacturers, half of this growth came from markets outside of Europe.

This was reportedly led by a six-fold increase in exports to China, a doubling to the rest of Asia and North America as well as a rise of 40% in trade to the Middle East and Africa.

As it stands, China is the second biggest market for Irish dairy exports, while the US absorbs almost 45% of Irish whiskey exports.

If the growth trends evident between 2009 and 2016 continue, it is claimed that international markets will account for over 40% of Irish food and drinks exports by 2025.

‘Substantial data and insight’

Concluding, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy outlined that the findings of this report provides Irish food and drink manufacturers with “substantial data and insight with which to prepare a strategic approach to international export markets”.

Although the UK will continue to be the most important market for Irish food and drink manufacturers, changing global circumstances moves the diversification opportunity centre stage.

“Bord Bia recognises that sustainable performances internationally by Irish companies require high levels of strategic insight and preparedness and the Irish food and drink sector is increasingly adopting a structured approach, driven by data.

“The resources to pursue this path, provided by Bord Bia and the department, have never been more focused,” she said.