The findings were revealed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD in the Bord Bia 2018 Brexit Barometer, a comprehensive survey of 117 Irish food, drink and horticulture companies.
The purpose of the Brexit Barometer is to assess the sector’s progress as it prepares for the UK’s exit from the European Union and, in doing so, provide a factual basis from which to inform company actions and Bord Bia programmes.
The 2018 Brexit Barometer questioned respondents on Brexit readiness, along with six key issues that face the sector: UK customer relationships, supply chain, customs and tariffs, financial resilience, marketing diversification, and emerging risks.
Other findings in the report included 85% actively seeking to expand into new markets, with Europe (86%), USA & Canada (49%), the Middle East (49%) and China (33%) high on the priority list.
Almost all (97%) said they are committed to Ireland as a supply base, while 54% said they have tailored marketing strategies specifically for the UK market. The number of respondents that have developed a marketing strategy specifically tailored for non-UK markets has risen to 61%, compared with 56% in 2017.
The survey found that 62% of respondents have mapped their supply chain to identify possible delays, costs and customs challenges arising from Brexit, while 40% have taken steps to reduce their supply chain costs as a result of Brexit. In terms of sourcing, 24% of companies have changed their sourcing strategy.
Tara McCarthy, chief executive of Bord Bia, said: “In the two years since the UK voted to leave the European Union, Bord Bia has taken the view that the Irish food industry must plan, act and take ownership, where possible, of the risks it poses. The Brexit Barometer has been a central and insightful resource in this regard. While uncertainly remains, I can say with confidence that Bord Bia is proactively working to fully support companies who are responding to the challenges of Brexit and building their potential for better trade outcomes in the future.”
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD, added: “It is heartening to see the progress Irish food and drink exporters have made in the last 12 months in preparing for the challenge that Brexit presents. Trade to our largest food and drink export market expanded by 7% in 2017 to reach €4.4 billion, confirmation of the extent to which our two countries remain finely tuned in terms of supply and demand. Though uncertainty remains a constant element for these companies, the 2018 Bord Bia Brexit Barometer shows significant progress has been made in a number of areas.”