Belfast Telegraph

Food and drink sector sales increase to over £4.5bn

By Margaret Canning

Sales by Northern Ireland food and drink companies have increased by 1.5% to £4.54bn, according to the latest figures.

The food and drink processing sector report from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) also said sales were expected to have shown growth of a further 1% through 2015, to reach £4.596bn.

DAERA added that a 1% rate of growth was lower than in many previous years.

Sales had grown from £4.48bn in 2013 to £4.54bn in 2014, the figures show.

And overall, food and drink accounted for 21% of Northern Ireland's manufacturing exports in 2014 - the most recent year for which full figures are available.

It also accounted for 28% of employment in the Northern Ireland manufacturing sector in 2014, and 23% of external sales - which includes sales to the rest of the UK as well as export sales.

And the sub-sectors of beef and sheep meat, and milk and milk products, were the biggest sub-sectors for sales in both 2014 and 2015, accounting for just under half of all sales.

Great Britain was Northern Ireland's biggest market, and bought £2.5bn in food and drink in 2014. The Republic was the most important export destination and bought £708m in food and drink.

In fact, food and drink companies sold more during 2013 and 2014 to export customers than to domestic customers in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph