Coveney announces Food Harvest Prepared Consumer Foods group

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, announced the establishment of a group to identify the actions needed to maximise the contribution of the prepared consumer foods sector to the targets set out in Food Harvest 2020.

The group will comprise industry appointed representatives but at their request, the Minister has appointed an independent chair.

Announcing the appointment the Minister said “To assist in this process I have decided to appoint Mr. Frank Ryan, former Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, as chairman of this group of industry experts. Mr. Ryan is well respected within the sector and has the appropriate knowledge and experience of the interface between the private and public sectors to ensure that its work is fruitful and makes a valuable contribution to the process of delivering on the Food Harvest targets. The Group will have the full co-operation of my Department and relevant State Agencies. It will prepare a list of recommended action points to drive growth in the sector and report back to the Food Harvest High Level Implementation Group, which I chair, before the end of June”.

The announcement was welcomed by Colin Gordon, Chairman of the IBEC’s Food and Drinks Industry Ireland “The establishment of this group is an important recognition of the critical role played by the prepared consumer foods sector in adding value and creating employment in the Irish economy. Its membership, comprising industry leaders, will bring a sharp business focus to its deliberations and I am grateful to Minister Coveney for recognising the vital contribution that the prepared consumer foods sector can make to achieve the Food Harvest targets.”

Using a 2008 baseline, Food Harvest 2020 set a target of 40% growth in the added value output of the food and beverage sector. Minister Coveney said today that consumer foods were a real driver of growth in this area “Food Harvest sets an ambitious target of €3 billion in additional output in the value added sector. This level of ambition is fully justified because the sector is a significant growth area. Prepared consumer foods are a real driver of that dynamic, both in volume and value terms, with significant potential for employment creation and growth in the domestic economy and in exports.”

Concluding, the Minister said that he was confident that the Prepared Consumer Foods Activation Group would bring a renewed focus on the development of that sector and make a significant contribution to ensuring that it reached its considerable potential.