Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group that represents the food and drink sector, has published its quarterly Business Monitor. This survey includes an analysis of food and drink responses to a recent Ibec survey of businesses across Ireland concerning Brexit.
The survey found that 50 per cent of food and drink companies said Brexit would have a negative impact on the value of export sales, an increase from 42 per cent in summer 2016.
The integrated nature of food and drink supply chains across the island of Ireland were reflected in responses to a question on the impact of Brexit on the island of Ireland. 89 per cent expressed concern about increased custom and certification procedures and 72 per cent highlighted the risk to all-island supply chains, including rules of origin.
Companies are also looking at skills needs and potential shortages after Brexit. Customs procedures are seen by 66 per cent of companies as the area where the greatest skills shortages are likely to occur. Training existing staff supplemented by recruitment within Ireland is seen as the primary remedy. Logistics, distribution and supply chain management skills are the next most frequently cited areas where skills shortages are anticipated.
Commenting on the findings, FDI Director Paul Kelly said: “Food and drink companies are actively engaged in Brexit planning. With 35 per cent of food and drink exports going to the UK and further 33 per cent destined for the rest of the EU mainly via the UK land-bridge, it is clear they are more worried than other business sectors even though they are better prepared. Government must implement policies to help mitigate the risks facing the sector by addressing cost competitiveness in the economy and helping companies innovate and improve productivity.”