A survey from Bord Bia suggested that three-fifths of Irish food and drink companies are uncertain of the impact Brexit will have on their businesses. Despite nearly 75% of respondents believing they have made progress in preparing for various outcomes with regards to Brexit, there is still some uncertainty.
Part of the survey were 117 Irish companies from the food and drink industry. Although Ireland is remaining in the EU, the UK’s decision to withdraw is likely to heavily affect the country because Ireland imports more products from the UK than any other country, accounting for 26% of total imported goods.
The companies surveyed represent almost half of the sector’s exports to the UK. Of them, 97% remain committed to Ireland as a supply base and more than half (54%) have tailored marketing strategies specifically for the UK market.
A staggering 85% of respondents said they were “actively seeking to expand their business into new markets”, underlining the inherent instability of the UK as a trade partner post-Brexit and suggesting that Irish companies are willing to look beyond the EU in order to future-proof their businesses. Europe is the most popular growth market outside the UK with 86%, followed by the US and Canada with 49%, the Middle East with 49%, and China with 33%.
The findings of the research are being released as part of a project called the Brexit Barometer.
“In 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 uncertainty 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,” concluded Tara McCarthy, Bord Bia Chief Executive.