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Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Horsemeat scandal to play 'significant role' in Irish food business growth

A new Europe-wide focus on labelling and traceability could increase turnover for these businesses over the next year, according to a new report.

THE RECENT HORSEMEAT scandal is expected to play a key role in the growth of Irish businesses in the next year, according to a report launched today.

The report, produced by Good Food Ireland and Grant Thornton highlights the effect the scandal has had on the food industry in Ireland, how labelling deception is widespread across Europe, and how Good Food Ireland businesses expect to grow profitability in 2013.

97 per cent of Good Food Ireland businesses said they expected higher turnover this year with the horsemeat scandal “to play a significant role in driving this growth”, according to Head of Food at Grant Thornton, Ciara Jackson.

She said a positive outcome from the scandal is that the food labelling issue has now been pushed to the top of the EU policymaker’s agenda.

“The level of complexity, particularly the number of countries horsemeat travelled through to end up in a processed beef burger, is frightening,” she said.

Key findings in the survey of over 600 businesses include:

  • 88 per cent expect an increase in earnings in 2013;
  • 4 out of 5 achieved their earnings expectations last year;
  • 71 per cent welcome regulation that places renewed emphasis on food sustainability such as traceability and provenance;
  • 97 per cent feel that local Irish food is an integral economic driver for their business;
  • The main business challenges faced are costs/overheads, decreases in consumer spending and access to finance.

More than ever now, food businesses will be highlighting their ‘Irishness’ with the report showing that nearly all focused on their Irish heritage to market their products and services.

Margaret Jeffares, Managing Director of Good Food Ireland, said these businesses can expect to benefit as consumers “increasingly vote with their wallets and choose to buy quality food they can trust”.

“The specialty food market in the Republic of Ireland is valued at €450 million, and this figure is set to increase as Irish consumers are showing a heightened interest in artisan foods,” she said.

“Although price is always a factor, particularly given the troubles the domestic economy faces, consumers have also become concerned with sustainability issues, traceability, provenance and organic farming.”

Read: Horsemeat scandal: Dept refuses to release over 200 pages of emails with FSAI>
Watch: Video: How does the food safety inspection process work in Ireland?>

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