NI food and drink industry continues to soar in Europe

The food and drink industry in Northern Ireland is valued at £7bn; it’s a progressive industry, focused on original products which are exported to over 70 countries.

The European market accounts for 75 percent of all our food and drink export sales; our success in this market can be attributed to two unique factors; firstly, the fact that Europeans are famous for their love of gastronomy; consumers will pay high prices for quality food; and our pure, lush countryside, and farmers and producers who are dedicated to traceability and passionate about quality fulfil their demands for quality, providing high value sales for our businesses.

Secondly, local suppliers are in the unique position of being able to sell products to European Union (EU) countries without any barriers; the process of exporting to Europe is the same as selling goods to Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland. Because our businesses can access this single market, potential business partners, retailers and stockists can trust that our products can be part of their supply chain network, without any risks to fulfilment or customs delays.

We know that there is still huge potential in Europe for Northern Ireland businesses - the region has a population of over 700 million consumers who are potential customers. And although trade fairs, exhibitions, product tastings and masterclasses are some of the best ways to promote food and drink products in Europe, we know it’s not practical for businesses to attend them all, however, we are here to help. We can support you with research, guidance and assistance from our local and international experts as well as exhibiting independently or alongside us.

To find out how we can help you reach your target market, complete our Export Health Check, tell us which markets you are interested in exploring, and one of our International Trade Advisors will contact you.

This piece first appeared in Farming Life on 16 December 2023.