Sat, 08 Oct 2022

Report on the Northern Ireland food and drinks processing sector

Northern Ireland Executive
25 Aug 2022, 21 GMT+10

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has published its annual publication, 'Northern Ireland Food and Drinks Processing Report' previously known as 'Size and Performance of the Northern Ireland Food and Drinks Processing Sector, Subsector Statistics'.

The report contains comprehensive data on the values of sales, value added, number of employees and destination of sales for each of the ten constituent subsectors of the food and drinks processing sector for 2019 and 2020. These key statistics are supplemented with fifteen performance indicators for each subsector. Provisional estimates of sales and employment are also provided for 2021.

In addition, a time-series of data covering the period 1989 - 2020 has been published on the DAERA website for each of the main variables. These will enable users to identify trends over time in variables of interest to them.

The report's key findings are:

  • The total gross turnover of the Northern Ireland food and drinks processing sector is estimated to have increased by 0.9 per cent in 2020 to Pound 5,424 million. Provisional estimates for 2021 project a 6.4 per cent increase to Pound 5,769 million.
  • The estimated number of direct full-time employee equivalents (FTEs) in the sector increased by 0.8 per cent to 25,078 FTEs in 2020. Provisional estimates for 2021 project a 0.1 per cent increase to 25,105 FTEs.
  • The value added by the sector to the Northern Ireland economy increased by 8.4 per cent to Pound 1,088 million in 2020. 
  • Between 2019 and 2020 the sector's sales increased to Great Britain (+Pound 107.7m) and to Ireland (+Pound 13.3m). Sales decreased within Northern Ireland (-Pound 0.3m), to other EU Countries (-Pound 25.3m) and to the Rest of the World (-Pound 47.4m). Great Britain remains the sector's largest market accounting for 48.9 per cent of sales in 2020; an increase from 47.3 per cent in 2019.
  • The food and drinks sector contributed 39.3 per cent to total manufacturing sales in 2020, an increase from 36.6 per cent in 2019. The sector also accounted for 42.5 per cent of manufacturing external sales in 2020 and 26.8 per cent of export sales.
  • The sector's contribution to total Northern Ireland GVA has increased slightly between 2019 and 2020 from 2.4 per cent to 2.6 per cent. The contribution to manufacturing GVA increased from 21.7 per cent to 22.3 per cent over the same period.
  • The sector's contribution to total manufacturing employment increased from 29.4 per cent to 30.4 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

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