A new report launched on Wednesday morning at the Food and Beverage Finance Summit in University College Cork (UCC) shows that consumers are increasingly price conscious, even when it comes to sustainability and quality.

Professor Thia Hennessy of UCC, who led the report, said: “The recent food price spike showed us that consumers and governments will resist food price increases and so food and beverage companies must continue to invest to deliver more environmentally sustainable and healthy products to the consumer at ever more affordable prices.”

The report found that while 60% of Irish consumers want more sustainable products, only 30% are willing to pay higher prices for that sustainability.


As well as facing this challenge, food companies have increasingly come under pressure from supply chain difficulties.

The report found that those companies are restructuring their supply chains to remove some of that risk.

For the food and beverage sector as a whole, the report found the recent slowing of inflation is having a positive effect on sentiment, as consumer demand was damaged by the rapid increase in prices in recent years.

A slowing of inflation, the report says, will drive a renewal of consumer demand, which will, in turn, lead to economic growth.

The report did warn that medical developments such as the widespread availability of obesity drugs may prove to be a major disruptor of the sector, while developments in artificial intelligence could lead to smarter farming systems, optimised supply chains and new product and flavour development.