Whether we’re in the heights of a boom or the gutters of a recession, one thing we can be sure of is that we all have to eat. The food industry is something that we all rely on, but have you ever considered the opportunities you could find by joining it?
Irish Meat and Dairy producers have a fantastic reputation abroad and are considered ‘champagne’ products in their respective markets. Producers such as Kerry, Dairygold and Glanbia have significant operations in Ireland, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, meaning Irish products are well positioned to take advantage of this reputation on the global stage. So what does the future of the Irish food industry look like?
It is estimated in the next 20 years there will not be enough protein from traditional sources to sustain the projected global population. This increased demand will put pressure on Irish Food producers to significantly increase production. This will require extensive investment in R&D, which will create exciting career opportunities for a range of Irish professionals.
Currently, Irish Food manufacturers are experiencing exceptional growth due to expansion into new markets, such as the Middle East. As the second largest European supplier of Dairy to the Chinese Market, Ireland has been really punching above its weight internationally, particularly when it comes to infant milk formula and cheese related products. New Zealand is still by far the largest foreign player in this market, but a major public health scare concerning tainted baby formula produced by a Chinese/New Zealand joint venture effectively drove concerned Chinese consumers towards Irish and EU products, which were deemed to be of higher quality and safer to consume.
All major Irish Dairy companies have invested heavily in their milk processing production facilities over the last 3 years. Glanbia have built the first green field dairy site in Ireland in the last 30 years in Bellevue. Meanwhile, Dairygold and Kerry have invested heavily in new state of the art upgrades to all of their key sites, all with the goal of increasing production and capitalising on the opportunity presented by emerging markets. All of these major players have also expanded into other areas, such as food ingredients and flavours businesses. For example, Kerry completed the acquisition of leading smoked flavours company called Red Arrow Products in 2015 in the US to further cement its title as a world leader in the ingredient and flavours sector. Kerry also recently invested over €100 million in a state of the art Food research centre in Naas. It is the first site of its size in Ireland and places us firmly on the global stage in the food and beverage sector. This site alone has led to creation of almost 900 jobs.
Who Can Make the Move?
The food sector is an expansive and varied industry, with opportunities for people of all backgrounds to get their foot in the door. Many roles in the Food Industry are very similar to roles in the Pharma and Medical Device Industries, and there are many skills that will transfer from one to the other. For Quality related roles, a background in Food Science, Nutritional Science, Microbiology, or Biology is very appealing.
But not all roles in the industry are confined to food itself. Engineering, Operations, and back office support functions (HR, Finance, Supply Chain etc.) would be completely transferrable between industries, enabling people from all sectors to take advantage of these increasing opportunities.
The Irish food industry has invested over a billion euro over the last 5 years in their facilities, both here and abroad. The sector as a whole is actively looking to break into new markets, and there are plenty of opportunities arising. We have the reputation, and an expansive network ready to take advantage of these opportunities. As their markets grow, this in turn will lead to the career opportunities in every part of the business, so get involved now and make the most of this incoming boom.
Want to Get a Taste of the Food Industry?
It is not too late for you to get involved in this exciting period for Irish food and ingredients producers. See what jobs we have available in this sector now.