Tesco is the single largest purchaser of Irish food and drink in the world – Indecon Analysis

Tesco is the leading retail buyer of Irish food and drink in the world, with purchases totalling €1.6 Billion a year and the company is now a bigger buyer of Irish produce than any country in the European Union.  The latest figures come from an independent socio-economic assessment of Tesco’s activities on the Irish economy by international economic consultants Indecon which was completed to mark the 25th anniversary of Tesco coming to Ireland in 1997.

According to Indecon, exports of Irish food and drink to Tesco represented almost 6.5% of the total value exported during 2021 which Bord Bia recorded as €13.5 Billion, with Tesco accounting for €0.87 Billion of the export total. The exports to Tesco stores in the United Kingdom and Central Europe have grown by more than 47 per cent in 15 years.

The figures show Tesco purchases of Irish food and drink remained robust during the pandemic and throughout supply chain challenges following Brexit. Irish suppliers continued to innovate for Tesco over the last year, replacing imports in certain areas, such as family-owned Cork business Silver Pail which secured a contract to supply the Tesco Ireland own-brand ice-cream range.  Country Crest, Keelings and Lir Chocolates continue as long-standing suppliers, with Folláin, the Gaeltacht-based jams and preserves company, the latest to join the 500-strong Irish firms supported by Tesco in the past year.

Leo Varadkar TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, wished Tesco well for the next 25 years:

“Congratulations to Tesco on this really important anniversary – 25 years in Ireland, employing thousands of people in cities and towns across the country. Every shop supports our local food producers too, with 13,000 farm families supplying fresh produce every day. Thank you for your commitment to Ireland, especially during the pandemic, during which the staff in all of its supermarkets made a huge contribution. Wishing you the very best for the next 25 years!”

Natasha Adams, Chief Executive, Tesco Ireland said: “Marking 25 years of Tesco in Ireland is a huge milestone for us and one we are very proud of.

This Indecon research shows that our long-standing presence in communities across the country is adding real value to the Irish economy through exports and employment. Our significant spend with Irish businesses helps to secure the jobs of local people and many local Irish suppliers. In addition, the success of Irish farmers and food processors supplying us domestically and exporting to Tesco internationally reflects the outstanding quality and unwavering commitment of the Irish agri-food sector.

As a business, we are acutely aware that the current cost of living crisis is placing a huge burden on many individuals and families, and our commitment to serving our customers, communities and working collaboratively with suppliers has never felt more important. We are committed to our 500-plus Irish suppliers, of which many are local, family-run businesses and which in turn benefit almost 13,000 farming families nationwide; and we will continue to play a constructive role in supporting Ireland’s economy for many years to come,” Ms Adams said.


William H. Batt, Indecon economic consultants who led the assessment, said: “Remarkably, Tesco’s overall domestic purchases and exports of Irish food and drink, amounting to approximately €1.6 billion in financial year 2021/22, exceeded Ireland’s overall agrifood exports to each of France, Germany, the Netherlands and the US in 2021. Given the scale of these purchases, Indecon’s research suggests that Tesco is the single largest retail purchaser of Irish food and drink in the world.”


Commenting on the announcement, Michael Murphy, Interim CEO, Bord Bia, said; “Tesco’s commitment and contribution to the Irish food, drink and horticulture industry over the last 25 years has been phenomenal. Tesco has established important and productive partnerships with Irish producers across its business in Ireland, while also providing a pathway to global opportunities for many of Ireland’s leading food and drink companies in its overseas markets – in particular in the United Kingdom. These strong links with its Irish supply base were particularly evident in recent times as the industry faced many challenges as a result of Brexit, Covid-19, and increased costs across the supply chain. Tesco’s engagement, receptiveness, and proactiveness have been indicative of the value it places on its close relationships with Irish suppliers and the wider industry. In Bord Bia, we look forward to continuing to work closely with Tesco, a valued retail member of Origin Green, to support both Tesco and the Irish food, drink, and horticulture industry as they work together to enact positive, long-term and sustainable change in the sector.”


Tesco has operated in the Irish retail market since 1997, and with 155 stores nationwide, it employs over 13,000 people in cities and towns around Ireland, supporting 45,000 jobs directly and indirectly.




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