Head of Food and Drink at Bank of Ireland Roisin O’Shea outlines how the sector fared in the first half of 2021.
H1 was a challenging period for the food and drink industry as it coped with continued uncertainty around Covid-19, the administrative burdens of Brexit, and increased volatility in freight and commodity prices.
Nonetheless, the industry has performed well with exports only slightly behind last year (-1pc January to May1) and evidence of strong optimism on prospects for the future.
By the start of 2021, the majority of businesses in the sector had adapted well to the challenges of
By the start of 2021, the majority of businesses in the sector had adapted well to the challenges of Covid-19. However, plans to refocus on foodservice sales took a backseat as January’s lockdown extended through to quarter 2 both at home and to varying extents abroad. The news of the vaccine rollout helped drive some pipeline fill to export markets in Q2.
The news of the vaccine rollout helped drive some pipeline fill to export markets in Q2. Also during this time, the implications of the impact of the new Brexit deal began to unfold. To date, impact on imports and availability of key production inputs has been more pronounced than the impact on exports. From a sectoral perspective, while dairy continues to dominate our export profile there were strong recoveries by Covid-19 affected sectors such as seafood and whiskey.