Covid-19 main concern for Irish food industry

Covid-19 has been ranked as the highest priority risk facing Ireland’s agri-food sector, a risk assessment report by Bord Bia indicates. The report captures the high level risks facing the industry across six key areas: Covid-19, Brexit, challenges to market diversification, sustainability pressures, consumer insights and innovation and talent management.

The analysis captures the level of risk exposures facing the industry, and in turn converts insights into interventions by way of Bord Bia’s supports and programmes to help industry mitigate defined risks. A total of 128 Irish food, drink and horticulture companies, representing half of all exports, took part in the survey conducted in March and April.

Some 91 per cent of respondents put Covid-19 trade implications as either a high or a very high priority. Export market diversification was next in line, with 71 per cent trying to expand into new markets in response to Brexit. Some 60 per cent of respondents cited networks and contacts, while 56 per cent noted market knowledge as barriers to progress.

Bord Bia’s chief executive Tara McCarthy (above) said that given our island location on the edge of Europe, Irish food manufacturers are export dependent. The estimated value of food, drink and horticulture exports last year was €13 billion, capping a decade of growth where the value of Irish food and drink exports was up by 67 per cent.

Growth was achieved through sustained, incremental increases in value and volume. Covid-19 continues to dominate concerns among Irish companies and fears that it will prompt a recession are voiced as a key concern by 75 per cent of respondents. Over 90 per cent said they had made progress in relation to their Brexit preparedness over the past 12 months.



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