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Report on the Northern Ireland Food and Drinks Processing Sector

Friday, 30 October 2009

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

The report provides comprehensive information on the values of sales, exports, value added and number of employees for each of the 10 constituent subsectors of the food and drinks processing sector in 2006 and 2007. These key statistics are supplemented with fifteen performance indicators for each subsector. Provisional estimates of sales and employment are provided for 2008.

In addition to the report, time-series data covering the period 1989 – 2007 (2008 where available) are published on the DARD website for each of the main size and performance indicators. These will enable users to consider trends in variables of interest.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • The value of sales for the sector increased from £2,595 million in 2006 to £2,799 million in 2007. Provisional estimates suggest that total sales increased to £2,975 million in 2008.
  • In 2007, the food and drinks processing sector contributed approximately 1.9% of Northern Ireland’s total gross value added. It accounted for 19.3% of total manufacturing sales, 16.6% of manufacturing external sales and 22.2% of manufacturing employment in 2007.
  • The milk/milk products and beef/sheepmeat subsectors continued to be the two largest contributors to total gross turnover. Together, these subsectors accounted for 49% of the total value of gross turnover in 2007.
  • From 1989 to 2003, Northern Ireland was continuously recorded as the most important market for the sector. However, in 2004, the British market became more important; this trend has continued in 2006 and 2007 with Britain accounting for 40% of sales in both years.
  • Nine of the ten food and drinks subsectors traded profitably in 2007; the poultrymeat subsector failed to generate a profit.
  • The total number of employees in the sector remained relatively constant between 2006 and 2007, at 18,410 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 2007, with provisional estimates for 2008.”
  2. The report and time-series data from 1989 – 2007/2008, 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, Belfast BT4 3SB.
  4. All media enquiries should be directed to the DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.