Brexit preparedness spikes for Irish food & drink producers

Chaos for food businesses trading across Irish border, warn experts
Credit: Antony McAulay

The Brexit preparedness of food and drinks in Ireland has jumped to 93%, according to the ‘Bord Bia Brexit Barometer: Results & Actions’.

The headline figure, which has risen from 74% since the 2018 report, highlights the mutual importance of the relationship between the two long-standing trade partners, as businesses prepare for several possible Brexit scenarios.

Despite the impending deadline, the research revealed 57% of respondents reported an increase in sales to the UK and a further 29% reported stable revenues, with 8 out of 10 Irish companies planning to maintain or grow sales in the UK over the coming year.

However, the report also revealed that Irish firms are becoming increasingly concerned by the cost implications of customs compliance and stockholding; potential challenges around logistics; and, consequently, many have halted investment plans due to the continued uncertainty of the evolving Brexit landscape.

The latest Brexit Barometer is the third in a series of annual studies that provide a comprehensive measure of Brexit readiness across Ireland’s food and drink sector with findings from 130 companies.

It is the basis and risk diagnostic tool from which Bord Bia offers a tailor-made suite of supports to Ireland’s largest indigenous industry which is uniquely impacted by Brexit.

The UK accounted for 37% (+2%) of all Irish food and drink exports last year, amounting to trade worth €4.5 billion.

“Amidst the continuing uncertainty around Brexit, this report highlights the true value of preparedness,” said Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

“My Department, working with Bord Bia, has dedicated considerable resources to ensuring that the unique position of the Irish food and drink industry in all Brexit scenarios is firmly understood.

“The coming months will bring another Brexit deadline, but it is encouraging to see that our industry is doing all it can to prioritise what it can control in facing these challenges.”