Where did Ireland’s big export winners thrive last year?

It was announced earlier today that in 2017 Irish food and drink exports hit a record-breaking €12.6 billion in value thanks to a 13% increase on 2016 export levels.

As announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed at the Bord Bia Export Performance and Prospects 2017-2018 report launch, significant dairy export growth of 19% to €4 billion was a key factor in last year’s performance.

Adding to the dairy surge, pigmeat, seafood and beef all recorded strong results, with 14%, 16% and 5% growth respectively.

Live animal exports also recorded a boost in sales for the year, while prepared foods – up 17% – and beverages – with an increase of 8% – also had a good year.

Edible horticulture and poultry had the lowest levels of uplift – constrained by price sensitivity and volume, according to Bord Bia.

Image source: Bord Bia

Export Markets

The UK remains Ireland’s key export market; however the percentage share of exports to the UK dropped from 37% to 35% of total exports. This reduction was in spite of the fact that sales actually increased for the year by 7% to over €4.5 billion.

Exports to other EU countries seen a strong boost of 16% to over €4 billion accelerating last year’s growth. This was mainly driven by strong dairy exports, which rose by over 40% to €1.2 billion, as well as enhanced growth for seafood and pigmeat sales, and a continued strong presence of beverages and prepared foods.

Meanwhile shipments of Irish food and drink to international markets grew by 17% to more than €4 billion for the first time.

These are driven by strong sales of dairy products in North America, Africa and Asia, and beverages which performed well in North America. Dairy accounts for some 45% of all sales to international markets, while beverages represent some 19% of total international exports.

Further expansion was recorded in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, while the United States recorded robust growth levels to exceed €1 billion for the first time.

Exports to China, driven principally by dairy and pigmeat, grew by 5% for the year to €700 million.