Ireland: Planting Seeds That Could Feed The World

The grass is greener than ever in Europe’s emerald isle. The end of quotas on dairy output could unleash economic growth potential worth €1.3 bn and create 15,000 new jobs in the coming years. Furthermore, from the US to China, demand for ‘green and sustainable’ Irish agri-products is rising.

In response, Irish farmers and agri-processing companies are busy investing and innovating. High consumer confidence, Ireland’s 2013 exit from its bailout program, falling oil prices, a strengthening labor market and falling inflation are all powering a month-on-month growth in Ireland’s retail sector.

Combined with pressure to reduce its carbon footprint, these factors are driving Ireland’s global and cross-sector quest for senior talent: from general managers and supply chain directors with insider knowledge of global markets, to specialist knowledge in nutritionals, pre- and post- food production and related industries. Meanwhile, Irish FMCG companies, in the quest for cost-efficiency and a peerless customer experience, are seeking digitally-literate supply chain managers and commercially astute executives.

Consumer Food, a Promising Year Ahead for Retail and FMCG

Agri-food and fisheries are deeply rooted in Ireland’s society, history and culture and are central to the country’s export economy. Yet for 31 years, milk quotas have stunted dairy output. As quotas are lifted, Irish businesses are preparing for a new era and National Dairy Council Chief Executive Zoe Kavanagh forsees growth potential worth €1.3 billion to the economy and 15,000 new jobs in the coming years.

Green and Growing – Global Markets Signal a Bounty of Opportunity

Demand from all continents is growing, so too is the emphasis on food quality, provenance and sustainability, for which ‘green’ Irish produce has established a worldwide reputation. In response, Irish farmers have been investing heavily in young stock, machinery and infrastructure; processors have ploughed half a billion euro into innovation. Forecasters project a recovery in global prices for agricultural commodities in the medium to long term.

Irish Innovation Ready to Claim New Market Share.

The Irish dairy food processing sector is eyeing up opportunities for innovation and growth: China is demanding infant nutrition from Irish milk, sports and performance nutrition is expanding, with the move towards ‘healthy ageing’ turning attention to the role of milk protein extractions in increasing muscle mass.

Quality and regulatory controls, the need for general managers and supply chain directors with insider knowledge of global markets, all mean the sector will need a rich bank of expertise.

Broad Perspective, High Yields

As the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture grapples with security and climate change, Ireland is playing a leading role in the form of the Dublin-based Institute of International and European Affairs and the RDS Leadership Forum on Climate Smart Agriculture. Commitments to reducing Ireland’s own carbon footprint are demanding focus and creativity.

Irish companies are looking across sectors and global markets for corporate-level talent with specialist knowledge in nutritionals, pre- and post- food production and related industries – supported by Ireland’s attractiveness and its stable of enterprising players, from Kerry Group and Glanbia to Dairygold.

Retailers Rallying

High consumer confidence, Ireland’s 2013 exit from its bailout program, falling oil prices, a strengthening labor market and falling inflation – all are combining to drive a month-on-month growth in Ireland’s retail sector.

The focus on customer experience and loyalty is sparking a demand for talent from a variety of sectors and geographies as Irish employers broaden their horizons to adopt a progressive and flexible approach to talent hiring and development.

FMCG to Follow

Competition amongst the biggest FMCG players is fierce, with investment in recent years turning from long term strategy to short term tactics, in-store promotions and price wars.

Still, strong tailwinds in the retail sector are boosting FMCG, with companies seeking buyers, digitally literate supply chain managers and commercially astute talent further afield than before, and from lateral industries that have gained a deep respect for the food sector.

Agile, Connected, Forward Looking

We forsee even more flexibility and movement in the senior talent market in the coming year, as demand increases for executives with the background, skills and learning that equip agri food, retail, and FMCG business to capitalize on growth potential.

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