IRELAND - The Prepared Consumer Foods sector in Ireland has the potential to deliver added value and jobs, resulting in valuable home market sales and increased exports.
Speaking at the launch of a 10 Year vision document for the prepared consumer foods sector , Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, said that prepared consumer foods are value added food and beverage products selling domestically or internationally to retail, food service or other food companies.
The sector already provides employment for more than 20,000 people in the Irish economy, and the industry vision document targets the creation of an additional 7,500 jobs over the next decade.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Coveney commended the members of the group, who represented large medium and small food companies, on devising a shared vision for the development of this critically important sector.
“Prepared consumer foods are a key value added sector and earlier this year I asked the industry to identify its strengths and needs, and how, in a very competitive and fast moving marketplace, companies could best be facilitated to deliver sustained growth,” he said.
“The potential of value added sectors to deliver growth and jobs had been identified in Food Harvest 2020. I am delighted that operators in this diverse sector have collaborated to develop a focused strategy and I commend Frank Ryan’s Group for delivering a vision for growth and development in this critically important sector.”
The document has been prepared as part of the overall Food Harvest strategy by an industry led group established by the Minister under the chairmanship of Frank Ryan , the former CEO of Enterprise Ireland.
The Minister added that the report was very significant in the context of developing the added value piece under FH 2020 and building its job creation potential.
It profiles the diversity of the sector in company size, product mix and growth stage and builds on this analysis to set out a 10 year Vision for development. It also recommends a range of actions, including increased research innovation and upskilling, appropriate regulation and improvements in competitiveness, which would assist companies at different stages of their development.
Concluding, Minister Coveney indicated that his Department and the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation would work with industry and relevant Government agencies to develop the sector.
“This vision statement is an excellent example of the collaborative spirit that has informed the Government’s Food Harvest strategy for the development of the agri food sector to date” Mr Coveney said.
“It also provides a vehicle for positive engagement between industry and my Department, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and relevant state agencies to work towards building a policy framework that can help this employment rich sector to develop to its potential. “
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