Bord Bia Assesses British and Irish Food Trade Post-Brexit

Food magazine takes a look at how Brexit and Covid-19 affected Irish food trade, supported by Bord Bia’s post Brexit market research

As Great Britain negotiates deals for imports and exports with the European Union (EU), the food and beverage partnerships with Ireland continue to flourish. Research by Bord Bia, and the Irish Food Board, suggests that sales of food and drinks will increase over the next 12 months, despite the ongoing difficulties caused by Brexit. UK businesses are optimistic for the future as nearly all the Irish food and drink sections experience continued growth. 

The research carried out by Bord Bia covered 110 Irish businesses in the food, beverage, and horticulture sectors. This served as 60% of the overall Irish market. For companies that continue to export goods to Britain, planning has been critical for maintaining a successful position. While 90% of those companies said they incurred costs from trading with Britain, roughly 82% of them had already planned to meet the challenges presented by Brexit regulation and legislation changes. 

According to Bord Bia’s research, around 78% of Irish businesses showed a positive outlook for the next 12 months of trade, and 46% foresee increased sales thanks to the relationship with Britain. It is clear that Covid-19 acted as one of the highest risks for the trade between Britain and Ireland. However, the relationship bodes well for the next few years. 

Covid-19 Impacts British And Irish Food Trade

Bord Bia has also provided some research into the effects of Covid-19 on the trade between nations. The general consensus is that businesses are more prepared than ever after the prolonged risks of the pandemic. Some 93% believe they are better equipped to deal with ongoing risks. Tara McCarthy, the CEO of Bord Bia, explains, “We are now six months into trading in a post-Brexit era which has brought about significant change and unprecedented challenges.” McCarthy further talks about the resilient nature of the market. “Yet the fact that almost half of all Irish companies exporting to Britain anticipate an increase in sales to the UK in the next 12 months is testament to the resilience of the Irish food and drink industry and the strong relationships we have with customers in Great Britain,” she says.

McCarthy explains that Bord Bia continues to provide insights into the trading relationship between the UK and Ireland, as research shows that 88% of UK consumers demand products of Irish origin. 

“As a critical area for support and development in the future, Bord Bia’s UK-based Thinking House research centre will continue to provide world-class insight to enable stronger product innovation and the development of better customer relationships for Irish food and drink exporters to the UK,” McCarthy says. “The determination, resilience and agility of the Irish food and drink companies we have supported over the past year is truly astounding. As a result of robust Brexit planning, new businesses and new revenue streams have emerged for many companies.”

Sustainable New Product Development

The production of sustainable products has been a major focus for many over the past year. The food and beverage industry has seen a growing interest in the UK and Ireland. Research shows that 54% of businesses are increasing their new product development investment with prolonged demand for direct-to-consumer products. According to Bord Bia, sustainability is “crucial and is by far and away the most significant and the most widely accepted challenge facing the global food and drink industry,” as around 80% of companies believe sustainability expenditure to be an investment.


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