The fourth IFAC Food and Agribusiness report released on Wednesday reveals an upbeat sentiment in the small and medium sized enterprise (SMEs) food businesses.

Confidence is at a four-year high, rebounding from 55% positive in 2020 to 77% in 2021 among the companies surveyed for the report.

The SME sector is also well switched on to the challenges of climate change, with 37% putting it high on their agenda and 87% taking positive climate change actions in their businesses.


However, there are challenges, with the two main concerns among companies surveyed around costs and recruitment.

Of the companies surveyed, 71% reported an increase in costs and two-thirds reported difficulty in recruiting staff.

Despite this, 97% of businesses surveyed expect to be employing the same or more people over the coming year.

Another interesting finding in the report is that while 87% of the sales from these businesses are in Ireland, Brexit was still a significant issue for 64% of respondents.

Supply chains

This is because it has affected supply chains, as well as increasing costs, particularly for transport.

The report is based on a survey of 213 small- and medium-sized companies and was carried out by by Amárach Research during June and July 2021 on behalf of IFAC.

For more, listen to the podcast with IFAC head of food and agribusiness David Leydon below.

Listen to "Rising costs and recruitment issues a challenge for small business" on Spreaker.