Food and Drink Industry in Ireland

The manufacture of food and drink products is Ireland's most important indigenous industry with a turnover of €27.5 billion and exports of €13 billion.

It is deeply integrated into the wider economy spending €18 billion per year on intermediate consumption in other sectors plus a further €2.1 billion on compensation of employees.

It accounts for 94% of the total external product flows from the agricultural sector.

The extensive regional footprint of the food and drink sector, including regions which are economically disadvantaged relative to the EU average, means it is directly linked to the performance of the whole economy and is also at heart of the social fabric of rural Ireland.
Food and drink manufacturing accounts for half of direct expenditure by the entire manufacturing sector in the Irish economy (payroll, Irish materials and Irish services).

As a result, the sector has a high employment multiplier, which means it supports employment in other parts of the economy in a way that other sectors don’t. The sector provides the exclusive outlet for much of farmer/SME produce, providing extensive added value and is thus crucially important to farm incomes.

In addition to servicing the domestic grocery and food service markets, the industry is highly internationalised and exports to 180 countries. It maintains substantial market positions in the UK, other EU markets and in international markets.