The latest insight from Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, has revealed a strong positive sentiment from UK consumers towards Irish food and drink products and a declining confidence in the availability of the food and drink they enjoy post Brexit.

The insight, which analyses the answers of a representative base of 1,000 UK consumers, over six periods throughout 2019, has been compiled by Bord Bia’s Thinking House insight team.

Bord Bia indicated the results show there has been a significant dip in consumer confidence around the continued availability of the Irish food they enjoy after Brexit, with the number of people confident of its availability steadily falling from 60% in May 2019, to 55% in July; and 47% in September. Conversely, the number of people who aren’t confident has risen from 32% in May 2019; to 36% in July; before spiking to 47% in September.

Consumer confidence about the cost of food and drink has also dipped; with those feeling confident about the cost of food and drink post Brexit falling from 40% in May 2019, to 32% in September. Similarly, those not feeling confident about the cost of food and drink post Brexit has risen from 54% in May 2019, to 62% in September.

When asked about their level of concern for different aspects of the food and drink they currently buy, the results showed that cost was the primary driver for concern (64%); followed by availability (52%); variety (49%); and quality (46%).

Against a backdrop of ongoing political discussions, consumers’ openness to choosing food and drink from Ireland has increased over recent months, rising from 86% in May 2019; to 89% in September.

Top concerns

When asked what food and drink items UK shoppers would miss most if there were to be a reduction in availability or spike in costs, the data revealed cheddar cheese (64%); butter (62%); and beef (55%), as the top three concerns.

Speaking about the statistics, Bord Bia’s Donal Denvir, general manager, Great Britain said: “The UK and Ireland have a long standing relationship with food and drink and the results of this latest round of research clearly show continued reason for positivity and optimism as we approach Brexit.

“While, the statistics reveal a distinctive trend towards a reduction in consumer confidence about the availability and affordability of food and drink post Brexit, it is positive to see that UK consumer perceptions of Irish food and drink, has seen a spike in positivity over recent months.

“As an organisation, we have been working incredibly closely with food and drink suppliers in Ireland to ensure they are as prepared as possible for the possible scenarios that might unfold over the coming weeks. With the research highlighting the affinity between UK consumer and Irish products, particularly dairy and beef, we will continue to work closely with the retail and foodservice sectors to overcome any challenges that might arise.”