Sunday, 22nd July 2018
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An overwhelming majority (91%) of Chief Executives and senior managers working in the food and drinks industry in Ireland believe their companies will be trading successfully in 2030, despite the numerous challenges they face including Brexit, a survey by Love Irish Food has found.

The Love Irish Food 2030 survey was conducted to assess the views of Love Irish Food member brand CEOs & senior managers on the future of the sector in which they operate. The year 2030, 13 years from now, was selected based on the pace of change over the past 13 years, from boom to bust and back again.

The results of the survey also revealed that apart from Brexit the availability of talent is expected to be the one of the most challenging issues facing the food and drinks industry in 13 years’ time. Respondents said the availability of talent was of fundamental importance to the future success of their businesses and equal to that of access to finance and accessible international trade regulation.

Though Brexit is to the forefront of business leaders focus, those surveyed strongly endorsed Ireland’s membership of the EU. Of those surveyed, 96% said EU membership was good for Irish food, while 90% maintain Ireland will have remained an EU member state by 2030.

In preparation for 2030, 70% of CEO’s surveyed put the availability of nationwide high-speed broadband on top of the agenda, reflecting some of the difficulties posed by the lack of broadband for food and drinks companies, many of which are based in rural Ireland. The availability of nationwide high-speed broadband ranked ahead of advancements in production technology and science as key issues that the Irish food industry faces, apart from Brexit.

In terms of media communication for their food and drink brands, brand owners see digital as the primary communication with their consumer market over the coming ten years significantly outpacing all other combined media forms.

As Irish food and drink brands compete agressively with imported food and drink brands 63% of respondents believe that Irish produced food and drink brands are better suited to Irish tastes due to better quality ingredients and the uniqueness of local recipe for local taste requirements. This is a significant opportunity for the industry where for example 70% of yogurt and 98% of biscuits are imported into the grocery market each year.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Kieran Rumley, Executive Director, Love Irish Food, said: "Thirteen years ago, in 2004, the Celtic Tiger roared in Ireland. Things, however, changed for the worse in 2008. Now, as we approach 2018, the wheel has turned again. Given the pace of change over the past 13 years, this survey sought views on what life will be like for the Irish food and drinks industry in another 13-year’s time, in 2030, from the people that know the sector best.”

"The chief executives and senior managers surveyed acknowlege the numerous challenges that lie ahead, including Brexit which is at our door step, attracting and retaining talent, technological advancements and the digital revolution. However, while time changes expectations, high-quality brands respond – they must to succeed. Despite the challenges, and they are numerous, respondents to the survey are overwhelmingly positive about the future of their businesses. The survey shows that CEOs are extremely confident about the future of their businesses and that is to be welcomed,” Mr Rumley concluded.

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