Ireland‘s artisan food sector to reach €706 million in 2016

Ireland’s artisan food sector is estimated to reach €706m in 2016, research from Mintel shows, an increase of 3.7{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} on the previous year.

Mintel expects to see further growth of 10{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} between 2016 and 2021, while almost 60{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} of consumers want more specialist artisan producers in their local area.

The research comes as over 150 representatives from the Irish food sector gather in the Brooklodge Hotel, Macreddin Village, Co. Wicklow today for the sixth annual Taste Council of Ireland Food Summer School.

Each year the event, which is supported by Bord Bia, sees a coming together of Ireland’s small-scale and artisan food producers and farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, academics and government agencies, to discuss and debate the challenges, opportunities and future of the artisan food sector.

The focus of today’s food seminar is ‘The Rural Food Community’ and how the small food sector can contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous future for rural Ireland.

Food business representatives at the event will be joined by representatives from Bord Bia, Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, the Irish Farmers Association and Teagasc.

Speaking ahead of today’s gathering Kevin Sheridan, Chair of the Taste Council of Ireland and co-owner of Sheridans Cheesemongers, said that artisan and speciality food producers, along with family farms and fishing communities, offer a real and sustainable future for Ireland’s rural communities.

“We’re gathering today as an industry to discuss and debate how tourism and food, Ireland’s two biggest economic drivers, can be brought together to complement each other more. We believe this could provide sustainable jobs and further support communities in even the most isolated areas of the country.”

Contrasting presentations and panel discussions at today’s event will focus on the importance and value of food and food tourism to Achill Island, with a rural population of just 2,700, and the island of Ireland, with a rural population of 1.5 million.

Speakers include Martina Calvey, Achill Mountain Lamb, Sean Molloy, Achill Tourism, Prof Cathal O’Donoghue, Head of Rural Development, Teagasc and Marian Byrne, Department of Agriculture.

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