It is deeply integrated into the wider economy spending €18 billion per year on intermediate consumption in other sectors plus a further €2.1 billion on compensation of employees.
It accounts for 94% of the total external product flows from the agricultural sector.
It is dispersed throughout the country and a strong driver of regional development accounting for 9.7% of total employment in the four economically weakest regions (Mid-East, Border, Midlands and South-East)
In addition to servicing the domestic grocery and food service markets, the industry is highly internationalised and exports to 180 countries. It maintains substantial market positions in the UK, other EU markets and in international markets