Irish dairy exports performed well in 2021, with exports exceeding €5 billion for the third successive year.
That is according to new data from the Export Performance and Prospects 2021/2022, which Bord Bia published this morning (Wednesday, January 12th, 2022).
It outlined that a combination of strong market returns across the main categories of butter, cheese, and powders, coupled with a diversified market mix, underpinned overall exports.
Irish dairy exports
Strong demand in North America and Africa countered the “dampening effect” of softer demand for specialised infant nutrition products in Asia.
The state agency remarked that diversification of the Irish dairy sector continued to pay dividends last year.
Ireland exported dairy products to 147 markets during 2021. Trade to countries other than the EU and the UK accounted for more than 50% of total exports for the first time.
Cheese and butter exports
Cheese exports rose by 15% and are now worth more than €1 billion per annum, the equivalent of €19 million per week.
The report added that customers were willing to pay higher prices for Irish cheese – not just in the established markets of the UK and EU – but also in Africa, particularly in North Africa.
The value of butter exports increased by 3% to €997 million. This increase was achieved despite a decline in exports to the UK, as EU demand was “good” and exports to the US continued to grow.
Besides, there was reduced demand for imported finished and base powders to Asia for the specialised infant nutrition sector.
However, strong performance in ingredients for manufacturing to China and wider Asia and increased exports of traditional dairy products offset this.
The value of Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture exports increased by 4% to a record €13.5 billion in 2021, despite Covid-19’s and Brexit’s impact on trading.
The aforementioned report states that Ireland exported the equivalent of almost €37 million worth of food and drink every day last year to customers in more than 180 countries worldwide.
Ireland exports about 90% of its food and drink production. The performance of the export sector was “robust” in 2021, given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that the UK is now operating outside of the EU Customs Union.
The value of Irish food and drink exports was 2% higher than pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019.