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News : Irish Last Updated: Jun 24, 2009 - 7:34:56 AM


IBEC's food and drinks unit says 2,000 jobs lost in 2009; Calls for introduction in Ireland of Supermarket Ombudsman
By Finfacts Team
Jun 23, 2009 - 8:44:22 AM

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IBEC's food and drinks body says 2,000 jobs have been lost in the industry so far this year and "many thousands more" are at risk. In a report, it calls for the introduction in Ireland of a Supermarket Ombudsman and a Supermarket Code of Practice as essential in order to protect Irish food suppliers from unfair commercial practices.

The report says Ireland has one of the highest levels of concentration in the grocery retail sector in Europe with the top three retailers having more than 70% of the market last year.

Nevertheless, the call from a unit of the main employers' body for effectively a regulator, is rather unusual.

The report identifies a range of competitiveness indicators for the food sector which it says show growth in production value, gross value added and productivity since 2000. In addition, the report points to the sector’s relatively high level of business expenditure on research and development by European standards, and a positive trade balance of €3bn (exports €8bn v imports €5bn).

French and UK companies own Ireland's most prominent drink brands.

The report also highlights the huge decline in the sector’s competitiveness in recent years, resulting from a combination of exchange rate factors and larger increases in our cost base compared to those experienced in the countries with which we trade.

The report says exports over €8 billion worth of food and drink products go to 120 countries worldwide annually and accounts for €5 billion (66%) of exports by indigenous manufacturers. The Eurozone accounts for 30% of the sector’s exports. With a strong Euro and 43% of exports going to the UK/sterling area, Ireland’s food and drink industry is heavily exposed to currency fluctuations. In addition, the balance of 27% goes to non-European countries and in many instances is denominated in dollars.

The report says a currency risk exists for over two thirds of Irish food exports, and underlines the need to maintain competitiveness by controlling domestic business costs.

The Food and Drink Industry in Ireland - - Closing The Gap

Finfacts Blog: Irish Whiskey - A Lost Opportunity to Create Global Brands of Economic Significance for Ireland

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