IRELAND – 2022 was an impressive year for Ireland’s food and drinks industry with exports reporting double-digit growth thanks to an oversized appetite for the country’s dairy products.

The overall value of food and drink was €16.7 billion (US$ 18B), a 22% increase from the previous year, according to data from The Irish trade board.

Out of the total exports, €6.8 billion (US$7.3B) was the value of dairy exports which was a 33% increase from the value recorded in 2021.

Officials attribute this growth surge to the increase in unit prices as well as an increase in the volume of the produced goods.

1.7 million tonnes of dairy products were exported to over 130 markets all over the globe with the overall dairy volumes increasing by 5%. Leading the dairy sector were the sales of butter and cheeses which took a 19% share each.

The European Union remains Ireland’s largest dairy export market with a 34% share in the entire 2022 exported goods.

High demand for Ireland’s dairy products from countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands contributed to this growth.

After the dairy sector, meat and livestock products were the second most sought-after products with a total export value of a little over €4 billion (US$4.3B) which was a 15% increase from the value in the previous year.

The meat and livestock segment was led by beef exports which made up two-thirds of the total share, amounting to a total of €2.52 billion (US$2.7B). The volume of beef exports went up by 9% from 2021.

Most of the exports were shipped to the UK market which accounted for almost half of Ireland’s beef exports.

Due to an import quota filed in the US early last year, Irish exports outside the Europe and UK market recorded a decline of 10%. The drop was also caused by competitive pricing within the Europe Union.

In 2020, the US was reported to be Ireland’s largest export market with over US$54 billion in exports.

Import quotas however saw the US lose its position to the UK which today makes up 11.1% of total exports.

Exports of food and drink to Europe on the other hand amounted to a total of €765 million (US$70.4M) which was an increase of 29% compared to the figures reported in 2021. France, Netherlands and German were the key destinations.

The export value to china slightly decreased as a result of the county’s recent coronavirus regulations and their strong domestic production.

Despite the immense growth, Irish food and drink businesses have been faced with several obstacles such as rising energy costs and pressures caused by inflation at the manufacturing level.

The most recent challenges in the market however are the coronavirus pandemic which had threatened the decline of the international supply chain as well as the impact of the war in Ukraine on international trade.

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