It has been revealed that 74% of Irish food companies have made progress in preparing for potential outcomes of Brexit on their business.

The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, recently launched the 2018 ‘Brexit Barometer’, a survey of 117 Irish food, drink and horticulture companies.

The main purpose of the survey is to assess the sector’s progress as it prepares for the UK’s exit from the European Union and to question participants on Brexit readiness.

Over 100 senior industry representatives recently gathered to hear the report findings delivered by Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy.

Brexit Readiness
The survey found that while 60% of respondents remain uncertain as to the impact of Brexit on their business, 74% have made progress in preparing for potential outcomes compared to this time last year. Some 25% of companies said they were pessimistic about Brexit’s impact on their business.

UK Customer Relationships
A total of 85% of participants have met with their key UK customers within the last 12 months, while 80% believe that they will continue to have opportunities to increase sales in the UK market.

Supply Chain
Meanwhile, 62% of respondents have mapped their supply chain to identify possible delays, costs and customs challenges arising from Brexit, while 40% have taken steps to reduce their supply chain costs as a result of Brexit.

Customs and Tariffs
It has also been revealed that 45% of companies surveyed believe they have reasonable or significant experience in dealing with official requirements relating to the importation or exportation of goods from non-European Union markets.

Financial Resilience
A total of 50% of respondents say that Brexit has not impacted on their investment strategy over the last year, while only 17% have held off on expenditure projects.

Market Diversification
In terms of growth markets outside the UK, Europe is the most popular at 86%, followed by the USA and Canada (49%), the Middle East (49%) and China (33%).

Creed commented: “Trade to our largest food and drink export market expanded by 7% in 2017 to reach €4.4 billion, confirmation of the extent to which our two countries remain finely tuned in terms of supply and demand.”

McCarthy added: “The Brexit Barometer has been a central and insightful resource in this regard. While uncertainly remains, I can say with confidence that Bord Bia is proactively working to fully support companies who are responding to the challenges of Brexit and building their potential for better trade outcomes in the future.”