Why Ireland

Ireland is renowned as a producer of the highest quality food and drink for global markets, with enough output to feed eight times its population.  It has been chosen as a strategic base by major food and drink companies like Danone, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Abbott Nutrition, Ferrero, Sysco, Mondelez, Aryzta, Nestlé Nutrition and many others to sell to European or global markets. 

The quality of Ireland’s food and drink is based on key natural and environmental advantages - a clean and green environment and lush landscape provide some of the world’s best ingredients.  These strengths are underpinned by strong production systems including animal health and welfare, traceability and food safety, as well as continuous improvement through research and innovation in areas like productivity, sustainable food processing and health and nutrition.

Ireland - the Location for Sustainable Growth

Click here to understand more about the Food Research and Innovation ecosystem.

Five key strengths of Ireland are described below.

Infrastructure | Talented People | Taxation | Track Record | Supply Chain & Ingredients


An infrastructure that supports new investment

Ireland’s infrastructure is oriented towards facilitating investment and creating export-focused growth businesses.  Infrastructural investments over recent decades have focused on education, communications, transport, power and environmental infrastructure.  World-class IT and communications networks, high-volume air and sea connectivity and efficient logistics make Ireland an ideal location for servicing global markets.    

R&D infrastructure that underpins innovation in the food sector

In the food sector, the Irish Government has invested in an advanced research and development infrastructure – in partnership with industry - to create breakthrough innovation. For example in dairy, Ireland has made a significant investment in building capability in the form of Food for Health Ireland, a pioneering industry-led research collaboration focussed on mining of milk for new functional ingredients.  

World-class sub-supply

The sub-supply base that has grown up around the food, biopharma and ICT sectors in Ireland also means that services for designing, building and operating the most modern and efficient manufacturing plants in the world are available in Ireland.  A sophisticated services supply-base also exists for the industry around areas like regulatory compliance, traceability, quality and sustainability.

Talented People

A young and well-educated workforce

Ireland has the youngest workforce in Europe - well-educated, adaptable and flexible and with a “can-do” attitude.  This is why over 1,000 global corporations like Pfizer, Abbott, Intel, Google, IBM, Pernod Ricard, Danone and Merck continue to reinvest in Ireland as a European manufacturing and services hub, and why Ireland was ranked by Forbes in 2013 and the number one country in the world to do business.

Flexibility and adaptable, delivering strong productivity

IMD reports that Ireland’s work force is consistently the most flexible and adaptable in the world (IMD World Competitiveness Report, 2013), delivering high productivity.  Ireland is the only English-speaking country in the Eurozone, and an ideal gateway to European and world markets.  Ireland’s population has a median age of 35, the highest rate of population growth in the EU, and high participation rates in third-level education.  Six out of every ten third-level students in Ireland graduate with a degree in engineering, science or business.

Educational institutions attuned to the needs of business

Ireland’s third level institutes of education have developed a keen awareness of the importance of forging strong links with industry, particularly in the fields of technology and science. Ireland ranks in the world’s top 20 nations for quality of scientific publications.


A corporate tax regime that encourages business and investment

Ireland has the world’s most competitive corporate taxation regime, including low real corporate taxes, and tax-based incentives for R&D, intellectual property acquisition and headquarter operations.  Corporate profits are taxed at 12.5% for all trading profits.  An R&D Tax Credit supports new R&D activities by providing a 25% tax credit, based on eligible expenditures under approved R&D projects.

Ireland also has an extensive network of tax treaties and double taxation agreements. In global competitiveness rankings, Ireland consistently ranks as having one of the most attractive real corporate tax rates in the world.  Ireland’s cost competitiveness has also improved since 2008, with reductions in real labour costs and business costs including energy, private rents, office rents, services and construction.

Track Record

Irelandis a globally-competitive location for inward investment

Ireland isn’t just a great place to add value to food and drink - it also has strategic clusters of leading global companies in lifesciences, ICT, engineering, cleantech, business and financial services and digital media.

Eight of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical firms manufacture here, as do 15 of the top 25 medical devices companies. ICT and technology firms have long regarded Ireland as a favourite location for selling products and services to European markets and further afield. They also frequently choose Ireland as a base for global business services and functions like R&D and head office.

Ireland offers:

  • a strategic English-speaking location with easy access to the EMEA region for exports of goods and services
  • excellent IT skills and infrastructure, including a state-of-the-art telecoms infrastructure
  • strong collaboration between industry and academia on commercial R&D and innovation, supported by government funding and promotion
  • a legal framework that supports the development, exploitation and protection of Intellectual Property rights

Supply Chain and Ingredients

A clean and green environment produces great food

Ireland is renowned for the quality of its food and drink. Our clean, green environment and lush landscape provide the world’s best ingredients.  This supply has attracted three of the world’s top producers of infant milk formula to choose Ireland as a manufacturing base, from which they supply 10% of the world’s exports – Danone, Abbott Nutrition and Wyeth Nutrition. 

Two-thirds of Ireland’s gross agricultural output is dairy and beef, produced on fresh green grass.  Thanks to a long growing season, a temperate climate and highly productive pasturelands, livestock are predominantly grass-fed.  As a result, the quality and sustainability of Ireland’s production systems are a major advantage. 

A strategically important sector

The food and drink sectors are strategically important to Ireland’s economic future. This future includes strong growth in primary and value-added output. For example, between 2015 and 2020, milk output will grow by 50% - that’s an additional 2.5 billion litres of milk per year, offering huge potential for new value-added dairy processing in Ireland to feed growing global demand.

Agriculture in Ireland is based on generations of family-run farms and co-operative enterprises. This heritage means that food production is deeply ingrained in Ireland’s culture.  Rigorous standards in animal welfare, quality, traceability, food safety and disease control are in place and support large-scale production, and can sustain future growth in the sector. Ireland’s environment and natural resource base makes food production sustainable and environmentally friendly – the carbon footprint of Irish food production is among the best in the EU.


Ireland is also unique in introducing a development programme to internationally demonstrate the commitment of Irish food and drink producers to operating sustainably - Origin Green.  The programme uses evidence-based performance measures and commitment to further improvement of farming and food manufacturing in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy conservation, water management, biodiversity, community initiatives and health and nutrition. At the heart of the programme for companies is a sustainability charter that commits participants to engage directly with the challenges of sustainability.