Beverages, at €1.26 billion, numbered alongside Livestock (€3 billion) and Seafood (€493 million) as the strongest-performing categories in Ireland’s export story for 2012.
The Irish beverage sector put in another strong performance in 2012 as ongoing growth in whiskey, combined with a stable performance by cream liqueurs and beer, increased exports by 3% from €1.2 billion in 2011 to €1.26 billion in 2012.
The global market for beverages showed further growth in 2012 with a renewed focus on premiumisation and growth in the travel retail sector helping market growth. However, the sector continues to face challenges, none more so than the challenging economic climate in many developed markets.
Growth in exports was led by trade to international markets which showed a double-digit increase to reach €550 million. A good increase to the US – led by whiskey – and strong sales to emerging markets such as Russia, Canada, Australia and Asia also boosted trade.
The prospects for Irish beverage exports in 2013 continue to be positive with ongoing growth expected in whiskey exports while prospects for cider, beers and cream liqueurs look reasonably good.
Overall Irish food & drink exports to Asia were up 75 per cent since 2010 according to Aidan Cotter Bord Bia’s Chief Executive.
The weakening of the €uro relative to sterling helped boost trade to the UK where the value of exports increased by 5% or €170 million to reach €3.8 billion, representing 42% of total Irish food and drink exports in 2012.
The immediate prospects for Irish food and drink exports in 2013 remain positive.
The results of the annual Bord Bia industry survey, completed in December 2012, also show continued confidence among food and drink manufacturers and a strong positive outlook for the year ahead. In total, 77% of exporters reported increased sales over the past 12 months, while 75% expect export sales to increase again in 2013.
Bord Bia also announced plans to recruit ten new ‘Global Ambassadors’, to be jointly funded by Bord Bia and the food industry, as part of a major drive to communicate and promote Ireland’s sustainability and green credentials under the Origin Green umbrella. Regions to be targeted include Africa, South East Asia, India, and Russia. It is envisaged that the ‘Origin Green Ambassadors’ will specifically target the top global companies around the world, including Europe and the US, allowing customers or potential customers to engage in a two-way dialogue on sustainability. The initiative will be linked to the Bord Bia Marketing Fellowship programme.