Bakery exports from Ireland increased by over 35% in 2015 and are now valued at around €185 million, based on sales figures from January to September 2015. 

Orla Donohoe, bakery market manager at the Irish Food Board, Bord Bía, told British Baker: “Sales are primarily growing in the bread category, but cake products as well.”

She added: “It has been a very positive picture for the bakery sector. We have a lot of new companies entering and others growing organically and we have a handful of very big exporters across the sector and they are really accounting for the majority of exports abroad”.

While the UK is the main market for Irish bakery exports, Sweden and Poland are considered to have great potential for sales.

Donohoe recognised gluten-free products to be one of the big trends of the moment. She said: “We are investing a lot in that area [gluten-free] this year to look at what’s happening in some of the key markets such as the UK, and also some of the high growth European markets such as Sweden. But gluten-free is in double-digit growth.”

UK sales strong

There were higher baked goods sales to the UK, in particular, but also to other EU markets. International markets increased in volume in places including Australia, North America and the Middle East.

Chocolate and sugar confectionery also increased exports – the UK was the largest market in that sector. Internationally, sales to the US were strong.