Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects report 2022/23 shows an increase in both food and drink exports, up €3 billion since last year and almost 30% on pre-pandemic levels (€13 billion in 2019), and can be attributed to both increasing unit prices, due to inflation and rising input and operational costs, and an increase in the volume of goods exported.
Irish drink exports reached almost €2 billion (+22% year-on-year) for the first time, a 25% value increase on pre-pandemic (2019) levels, which reflects the extraordinary recovery and now growth of the sector following difficult years in 2020 and 2021. North America continues to be the key export market, representing 52% of overall exports at just under €1 billion.
The report shows that Irish drinks exports reached 119 markets around the world last year. North America continues to be the key export market, representing 52% of overall exports at just under €1 billion. The EU represented 21% of exports and the UK continues to be a strong market despite Brexit, accounting for 14% of exports.
Premium spirits up
This performance was driven by strong growth in the value of exports of Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur which up 14% to €448 million. Both Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur sit in the premium category. The growth in Irish whiskey exports from the Republic of Ireland aligns with a separate report issued today by the Irish Whiskey Association that shows that all-island export value for Irish whiskey exceeded €1 billion for the first time in 2022.
The recovery of Irish beer exports, up 19%, and the emergence of the Ready To Drink category (RTDs) in Ireland supplemented this growth. Beer exports are still below pre Covid-19 levels, as this category was heavily impacted by the closure of the on-trade.
The report also shows that gin exports grew at a rate of €5m per annum over the last two years to €20m. Again, gin has benefited from the global premiumisation trend.
Cormac Healy, director of Drinks Ireland said: “After a number of difficult years, today’s Bord Bia report shows very strong performance from Irish drinks exports, driven by continued innovation among Irish producers. We see that premiumisation of Irish drinks was one of the key factors in export value growth, with overall value growing at more than twice the rate of volumes.
Drink less but better
We are seeing this trend both in Ireland and in our export markets, as consumers choose to drink less, but drink better, picking higher quality products when they do consume. In Ireland, alcohol consumption has declined by 33% in 20 years.
The sector still faces challenges in the wider environment, such as inflation and increased energy costs. With adequate support, the industry can continue to perform well with good prospects in established and emerging markets.”
Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects 2022/2023 Report is published at https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/insights/