Half of food and drink consumed in Irish homes in 2018 was imported, according to comprehensive analysis by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
While some of the information has been available previously, the latest analysis from the CSO integrates all available data, revealing the complexities of Ireland’s agriculture and food sector.
Household consumption of food and drink was valued at €10.5bn in 2018, half of which was imported and half produced domestically.
Drinks accounted for €2.5bn of this (€1.7bn alcohol), meat €2bn and dairy products €0.8bn. These figures don’t include food and drink bought in pubs and restaurants, where a further €12.6bn was spent by Irish consumers in 2018.
The value of Irish agriculture in 2018 was put at €8.7bn by the CSO
The analysis also shows that the €25.7bn food and drink sector, the sixth largest in the EU, has a large element of foreign-owned multinational enterprises (MNE). These account for €15.9bn of this output, with Irish-owned businesses accounting for €9.8bn.
The value of Irish agriculture in 2018 was put at €8.7bn by the CSO, with €6.1bn of this generated by milk and livestock, and followed by crops including forage at €1.3bn, vegetables at €440m and barley at €240m.
Food and drink exports from Britain fell dramatically, down €335m for the first two months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2018
The report also presents an initial analysis of the Brexit impact, with a caution about the impact of COVID-19, stockpiling and risk of monthly figures being more volatile than annual figures.
With that in mind, comparisons made between January to February 2018 and January to February 2021 showed a €51m or a 71% drop in the value of agricultural imports from Britain. This moves Britain down from being the biggest source of agricultural imports to fourth behind Netherlands, Germany and Northern Ireland.
Food and drink exports from Britain fell dramatically, down €335m for the first two months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2018, whereas imports from Northern Ireland increased by €76m (75%).
Exports of food and drink from Ireland to Britain were down from €641.2m in January to February 2018 to €418.1m in January to February 2021, though they have increased with all other major trading partners.