Research is growing high in Ireland’s food and drink sector

19 Jun 2024

Image: © Alex_Traksel/

As companies in this sector invest more into R&D, leaders are attending the Enterprise Ireland Food Innovation Summit to understand the future of this industry.

Research is becoming more important for Ireland’s food and drink sector with the emergence of new technology, according to Enterprise Ireland.

The state agency says the food and drink companies it supports invested €165m on R&D activities last year, with 123 companies spending €100,000 or more in 2023. Enterprise Ireland also said it invested in 15 emerging start-ups in this sector last year.

These figures were revealed ahead of Enterprise Ireland’s Food Innovation Summit at Croke Park today (19 June), which aims to raise awareness of the importance of innovation for the food and drink sector. Hundreds of leaders from the food and drink sector are attending the event – as well as innovation experts, policymakers and key stakeholders from across the research ecosystem.

The event will also include panel discussions on the future of the food and drink sector and the impact emerging technology such as AI is having on the industry.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Peter Burke, TD, noted that food and drink companies are a “significant contributor” to Ireland’s economy, as they support nearly 60,000 high-quality jobs “across every region in Ireland”.

“Innovation is essential to maintaining our competitive edge, and the Government is committed to supporting the sector to increase investment in innovation, digitalisation and sustainability so these food and drink businesses can continue to compete and win in global markets,” Burke said.

Ahead of the event, Enterprise Ireland chair Michael Carey said innovation is the “cornerstone” of a sustainable and competitive food and drink industry in an “increasingly competitive global market”.

“The current levels of investment in R&D among Ireland’s food and drink industry provides a strong foundation to build on,” Carey said. “However, increased investment in research and innovation by these companies is vital to strengthen productivity, improve both sales and margins, and accelerate the scaling journey.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic