Competitiveness top priority for Food and Drink Sector

Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group representing the food and drink sector, emphasizes the importance of government policy in ensuring the competitiveness of Ireland’s largest indigenous manufacturing sector amidst growing challenges. In the report, labour costs are identified as one of the sector's primary concerns. At the launch of the group’s latest document today, “Competitive Food and Drink: Policy priorities of the food and drink sector 2024” (see attached), FDI Director Paul Kelly stated: "In a challenging environment, exports remain resilient and have been valued at greater than €16 billion for the last two years. The sector’s continuing ambition is reflected in the €21 billion export target in Food Vision 2030 but it faces a range of challenges attributed to Brexit, Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine including the cost of commodities, energy and transport.”

He outlined: “One of the most significant challenges now facing food businesses is the cost of labour. The rise in the minimum wage, enhanced protective leave entitlements, changes to statutory sick pay and other measures are leading to cumulative increases in labour costs of more than 25% for some companies. In the absence of any direct supports from Government, this will threaten the financial viability of many low margin food businesses. Government should assess the extent and timing of any new initiatives for their cost impact on the food and drink sector as higher compliance costs for businesses will lead to a loss in competitiveness and greater food price inflation for consumers and therefore further upward pressure on the cost of living. Strong consideration should also be given to pausing the implementation of any measures likely to increase costs for the sector.”.

“Competitive Food & Drink: Policy priorities of the food and drink sector 2024” outlines policy priorities for the following:

  • Competitiveness
  • Sustainability
  • Skills and human capital
  • Innovation
  • Food safety and nutrition
  • Export markets – international trade / Brexit response
FDI Policy Priorities 2024 pdf | 2421.8 kb