It is estimated the value of Irish food and drink exports increased by 12%, or €1 billion, in 2011 to reach an all-time high of €8.85 billion. For the first nine months of the year, food and drink exports increased at three times the rate of total merchandise exports. As a result the sector accounted for 25% of the rise in total export revenue. Over the last two years, the value of Irish food and drink exports has increased by €1.8 billion or 25%.
The export performance was boosted by strong global prices for major commodities, a positive supply/demand balance in some key categories, a tentative return to price inflation across most major European markets and reduced volatility in exchange rates. All categories recorded an increase with the exception of live animals. The strongest performers were:
The prospects for Irish food and drink exports in 2012 remain positive, although lower output availability in some sectors combined with some anticipated softening in global commodity prices are likely to result in more limited growth potential.