The Irish Food Industry

No matter what is happening in the economy one thing is certain, people need to eat! Have you ever thought of joining the food industry? Read on to find out why you should!

The world’s population is expected to grow by more than 1bn by 2030 and as a result food sources will need to increase by 50% in order to deal with this growth. Taking the projected global population into account, it is estimated that in the next 20 years there will no longer be a sufficient amount of protein from traditional sources. As a result, there will be huge pressure on Irish producers to increase production significantly. The good news for those looking for a new opportunity in the food industry is that this will require a huge investment in research and development, which will create new career opportunities in Ireland.

Recently there has also been huge growth for Irish food manufacturers as a result of expansion into new markets like the Middle East, for example. In the Chinese Market, Ireland is the second largest European supplier of dairy, particularly Cheese and Infant milk formula. Irish products benefit hugely from a major health scare involving tainted baby formula, as Chinese consumers turned to EU products as they are thought to be safer and of better quality.

Ireland has 18,500 family owned dairy farms which produce approx. 5,400 litres of milk annually. Over the last four years, the main dairy companies in Ireland heavily invested in their milk processing production facilities. Both Kerry and Dairygold have invested a huge amount of money into new state of the art upgrades for their sites. This was with the aim of increasing production in order to capitalise on the new opportunities in emerging markets in mind. These companies have also branched out into other areas such as food ingredients. Over the last 6 years, the Irish food industry has invested over €1bn in their facilities both in Ireland and abroad. Dairy exports currently represent a third of all Irish food and drink exports, valuing over €4bn. Beef is also another huge export accounting for 21% of food and drink exports.

According to Bord Bia, in 2016 it is estimated that this sector increased by approximately 2%. 2017 saw the eight-consecutive year of growth for Irish agri-food exports with an increase of 13%. Since 2010 there has been a 60% increase in food and drink exports, rising from €4.7bn to €12.6bn.

As the food industry is so varied, there are many opportunities for people coming from a wide range of backgrounds. There are many skills within the food industry that are transferable to other industries. The great thing about working in this industry is that you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in food science or nutrition, however for quality related roles this is a plus! There are also opportunities in HR, Supply Chain, Finance and Engineering to name a few. These positions can be easily transferable between industries which means people from all sectors can benefit from these new opportunities. Here at RFC we help talented individuals find positions that highlight their skills! If you would like to find out about our current jobs in this sector or would like some advice email us at or call 01-8727008

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