As we mentioned in this other article, one of the most important industries in Ireland is the agri-food industry.
Within this sector, food consumables represent 93% of the total products and raw materials we produce. Amongst these we can find drinks, oils, crops, feed, skins, wool and live animals.
According to official data from the Department of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries of the Government of Ireland, the agri-food sector employed more than 170 thousand people in 2017 and contributed to 8% of GDP (known as Modified Gross National Income in Ireland). In 2018, the total value of exports of the agri-food sector was 13.6 billion euros a figure that reflects the importance of this industry for the country which has grown by nearly 70% since 2010.
The breakdown of exports from Ireland are broken down to the different territories as follows; the United Kingdom (37%), the countries of the European Union (34%) and the international markets (29%), which also represent an important volume of exports from the island.
The production of raw materials, livestock and food products from Ireland is increasing which means a great opportunity for European importers to obtain more and more products with the Irish quality seal.
Main raw materials and quality products that are exported from Ireland
2018 was the ninth consecutive year with the highest growth of exports from Ireland, both at European and international level, despite the impact that Brexit has had on commercial activities during the last years.
Data from the Export Performance & Prospects report from Bord Bia, Food Council of Ireland, reveals that last year exports of food and beverages were distributed as follows: 33% meats and cattle, 33% dairy products, 15% prepared meals, 12% drinks, 5% seafood and 2% horticulture and cereals.
- Meats and livestock
The export of meat products and live animals increased by 1% in 2018. This category includes beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb and beef, as well as live animals, a market that has generally decreased with respect to the previous year.
- Dairy products
The key markets for the export of Irish dairy products are the United Kingdom, China, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States. This sector, is one of the most important as it billed 4 trillion euros more in 2018 than in 2017.
- Prepared meals
Prepared meals, which are defined as meat products to juices, chocolates, pastries or powdered nutritional preparations, had a market value of 1.9 trillion euros last year.
This category includes Irish whiskey, the drink that undoubtedly dominates and is exported mainly to the United States. This sector contributed a value of 1.5 billion euros throughout the year 2018.
- Fish and seafood
60% of Irish fish and seafood arrive in European destinations, especially in countries such as France, Spain and Italy. Among these, the pelagic fish (sardines & mackerel), seafood in general, prawns, oysters, crabs, mussels and salmon stand out.
Although it is a declining market, the value of this during the year 2018 was 562 million euros.
- Horticulture and cereals
The most important product in this sector are mushrooms whose main importer is the United Kingdom. The value of this sector was 208 million euros in 2018 and it should be noted that exports in cereals were 5% higher than the previous period.