Some 40% of Irish food exporters expect sales to decline due to Brexit

Bord Bia survey conducted after UK vote reveals concerns of Irish exporters

Some 40 per cent of Irish food and drink exporters expect their sales to decline in the wake of Brexit, while most cited exchange rate volatility as a key risk.

According to a Bord Bia survey conducted in the immediate aftermath of the UK's shock referendum result, nearly a third of companies in the sector said they would search out new markets.

The remaining two thirds said they would opt for alternative solutions, focusing on a reduction in costs and recovering losses from higher prices.

Irish food and drink exports to the UK accounted for 41 per cent of total exports in 2015, valued at €4.4 billion.


Bord Bia’s snapshot survey revealed most companies in the sector were in the early stages of considering their options, while few had put a formal plan in place prior to the result of the referendum.

Exchange rate volatility was the over-riding concern, cited by almost six out of ten firms, followed by the prospect of tariffs and border controls.

Since last week’s referendum, the pound has depreciated by about 8-10 per cent against the euro.

"While our post-Brexit survey of food and drink companies indicates obvious concern about the short term shocks and uncertainty, exporters expressed a desire to hold their ground in the UK and are seeking assistance in developing the skills required to manage their way through the current difficulties based on insight and feedback from UK customers, buyers and consumers," Aidan Cotter, Bord Bia chief executive said.

The agency has announced a number of data and informational supports, including advice on how to manage volatility, for exporters to assist them maintain competitiveness in the wake of Brexit.

It also plans to hold a Brexit briefing event for food and drink exporters next Wednesday at its headquarters in Dublin.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times