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Report on the Northern Ireland food and drinks processing sector

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has published its annual report, ‘Size and Performance of the Northern Ireland Food and Drinks Processing Sector, Subsector Statistics’.
Thursday, 31 July 2014

The report contains comprehensive data on the values of sales, exports, value added and number of employees for each of the ten constituent subsectors of the food and drinks processing sector in 2011 and 2012. These key statistics are supplemented with fifteen performance indicators for each subsector. Provisional estimates of sales and employment are also provided for 2013.

In addition, a time-series of data covering the period 1989 – 2012 (2013 where available) has been published on the DARD website for each of the main variables. These will enable users to consider trends over time in variables of interest to them.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • The value of sales for the sector increased by 5.3% from £4,020 million in 2011 to £4,234 million in 2012. Provisional estimates suggest sales increased by a further 6.7% in 2013 to £4,519 million.
  • The food and drinks processing sector contributed approximately 3.7% of Northern Ireland’s total gross value added in 2012.
  • In 2012, the food and drinks processing sector’s, as defined in the publication, contribution towards the sales (26%), external sales (23%) and employment (27%) of the Northern Ireland manufacturing industry remained unchanged. The share of value added (17%) rose slightly, while export sales (24%) reduced marginally.
  • The beef and sheepmeat and milk and milk products subsectors continue to be the largest subsectors, in terms of gross turnover, in 2011 and 2012. Together, they account for 50% of the sector’s total gross turnover in these years.
  • Great Britain continues to be the largest market with sales of £1,711 million in 2012 (40% of the total sales). The Republic of Ireland was the most important destination for export sales, accounting for approximately 16% of total sales in 2012. In 2012, the value of exports outside of the UK exceeded those of the Northern Ireland market for the first time in this series.
  • All food and drinks processing subsectors traded profitably in 2011 and 2012.
  • The total number of direct employees in the sector increased marginally between 2011 and 2012, from 19,965 to 19,984 direct full-time employee equivalents. Employment in 2013 increased by a further 2.0% to 20,390 direct full-time employee equivalents.

Notes to editors:

  1. This statistical press release relates to the annual report “Size and Performance of the Northern Ireland Food and Drinks Processing Sector, Subsector Statistics 2012, with provisional estimates for 2013".
  2. The report and time-series data from 1989 – 2012/2013, may be downloaded free of charge from the DARD website.
  3. If a hard copy of the report is required, it may be obtained, price £6 including postage and packaging, from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Policy and Economics Division, Room 656, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Ballymiscaw, Belfast BT4 3SB.
  4. All media enquiries to DARD Press Office, Tel. 028 9052 4619. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.