Meat exports currently account for 40% of the gross agricultural output of Ireland. Where does that rank the meat industry in terms of the top Irish export sectors? The following list of top 10 export sectors in Ireland provides the answers.

1. Pharmaceuticals: €48.1 billion

The pharmaceutical industry was the leading contributor to Irish exports in 2019. This is just marginally more than the €48.1 billion recorded in the previous year but it is growth nonetheless. A continued rise in revenue is expected as the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies now have operations in the country.

2. Organic chemicals: €32 billion

The organic chemicals sector had another robust year, with January 2019 accounting for one of the industry’s biggest monthly yields since data became available. The result was that this sector grew by over 7% in export revenues over 2018.

3. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: €13.7 billion

There was a slight decline in this sector year over year. The reported export revenue was approximately €432 million less than the €14.11 billion accounted for in 2018.

4. Electrical machinery, equipment: €10.5 billion

The electrical, machinery and equipment industry was the fastest-growing sector on the top 10 list. A significant jump of 32.8% was recorded for 2019 when compared to the performance of the sector in 2018.

5. Machinery including computers: €8.8 billion

2019 represented another solid year for the machinery and computers industry in Ireland, which moved up from €8.8 billion in 2018.

6. Perfumes, cosmetics: €8.8 billion

Compared to 2018 when reported revenues reached €8.2 billion, there was a decline of just over 3.5% for this sector in 2019.

7. Aircraft, spacecraft: €4.1 billion

The aircraft and spacecraft industry also experienced a decline in 2019. In fact, it was the sharpest declining sector, reportedly down 20.5% over the period.

8. Miscellaneous chemical goods: €3.69 billion

In 2018, the miscellaneous chemical products sector in Ireland reported revenues of €3.83 billion, which means 2019 had a slight decline.

9. Meat: €3.15 billion

We find the meat industry in 9th place, which is the same position it was in a year earlier. However, there was a decline in export revenues by 8% when compared to 2018. There has been some amount of turmoil in Ireland’s meat industry in recent years but the sector remains important to the overall Irish economy. According to Bord Bia membership, the Irish meat industry (made up of beef, pork, lamb and poultry) collectively employs about 40,000 farmers and supplies over 150 food processing facilities. In addition, meat manufacturing contributes significantly to other sectors. This is very evident in the electrical machinery and equipment industry. A variety of meat processing equipment falls under this category, including the following:

  • Bandsaws
    • Bowl Cutters
    • Automatic Burger Forming Machines
    • Automatic Clippers
    • Dip Tanks
    • Brine Injectors
    • Kneader Mixers
    • Meat Mincers
    • Meat Slicers
    • Meat Tenderizers
    • Mixer Grinders
    • Sausage Fillers

Part of the reason for the decline in the meat sector is continued increases in the dairy herd population when compared to beef herd population.

10. Dairy, eggs, and honey: €3 billion

While meat exports decreased in 2019, the dairy, eggs, and honey sector saw an uptick by over 10%. Part of this increase can be attributed to the growth in dairy cows in relation to the decline in beef herds as mentioned in the previous point.

Despite challenges, Ireland’s export market continues to grow year on year. When it comes on to the country’s bustling meat industry, the sector is one which has shown consistent growth and performance over the years. If you are in this sector and have a need for meat processing machinery, whether new or used solutions, as well as help with service and maintenance, feel free to get in touch with the Louie Brennan Food Machinery team.