Food Processing

With almost 230,000 people employed across farming, manufacturing and distribution, the agri-food sector is one of the most important indigenous manufacturing sectors in Ireland. In an ever-changing marketplace there is a necessary focus on the environmental sustainability of agricultural production methods and the need for adherence to best practice; the adoption of new technologies; and continued investment in research and development.

The carbon profile of food is already an important factor in consumer choice and the meat and dairy sectors are vulnerable to both increased carbon taxation and a negative consumer perception in this context. The demand for enhanced nutritional values allied to price competitiveness and the environmental sustainability of food production and distribution are the key trends informing consumer behaviour at present and these are likely to remain prominent issues in the foreseeable future. The increased consumer demand for functional foods and nutrition enhanced products is a key opportunity for the sector.

The focus on sustainability at producer and processor level means a focus on energy efficient and carbon reducing technologies and best practice across the spectrum in terms of animal production, processing, route to market factors and distribution capabilities. In today’s market the successful food producers are the ones examining every step along the production to consumption continuum. The opportunities for new green businesses are everywhere throughout the food processing sector.