- Government’s performance on housing and health rated poor to very poor
- In relation to Brexit, job creation and management of the economy Government seen as doing a good job
- Business leaders optimistic about outlook for the economy and jobs
BWG Group, one of Ireland’s leading food wholesalers and retailers, has released the results of a new leadership survey of Ireland’s major food manufacturers and distributors, which includes an assessment of the performance of the Government across a number of key areas. The survey was undertaken over the past month with senior executives across the food supply chain in Ireland with responses received from over 53 companies who between them employ thousands of people in Ireland and generate multi-billion Euro annual revenues.
More than half of survey respondents ranked the Government’s performance on housing and health as poor or very poor. Similarly, just 15% of respondents believe the Government has performed well in relation to education and childcare. In contrast, the Government’s management of Brexit and job creation were ranked as ‘very good’, with its stewardship of the economy rated as ‘good’. The Government is seen as doing ‘ok’ in areas including labour market regulation, personal taxation and transport but is seen as having much more to do to encourage returning Irish emigrants.
The survey results were presented to over 300 food industry representatives at a briefing, marking the commencement of BWG Foods’ Annual Trade Show, the largest food industry event of its kind in Ireland.
The research findings also highlight that the food industry is optimistic about the outlook for Ireland’s economy, with 91% of respondents expecting their turnover to grow over the next 12 months. Similarly, in relation to the Irish grocery sector, 98% of respondents felt that the market would perform the same or better over the next 12 months, meaning that very few (2%) expect the various challenges facing the sector to result in negative turnover performance.
The positive sentiment that is felt across the industry not only relates to future revenue growth but also to employment, with over two-thirds of respondents (67%) believing that they will employ more people in 2022, with a further 55% expecting to employ more by 2024. While a smaller proportion (42%) expect to employ more people in 2020, just 2% of respondents feel they will employ fewer staff next year.
That said, respondents also revealed where they see the biggest challenges in the months ahead, calling out rising business costs, followed by price discounting, insurance costs and labour shortages as the key issues that will need to be addressed.
In terms of immediate threats to consumer demand, not surprisingly Brexit remains the number one concern, followed by the increased cost of living and price inflation.
Speaking at this morning’s briefing, Group Chief Executive of BWG Group, Leo Crawford, commented:
“Our suppliers, who represent all the major food manufacturers and distributors operating in Ireland, have provided a frank assessment of the Government’s performance, highlighting that while the Government is doing well at a macro level, it’s failing to address the fundamental needs of Irish citizens in terms of housing, health and education. If not addressed, the concern is that these issues will undermine the positive momentum that is driving current economic growth and job creation.”
Leo Crawford further commented: “Separately, suppliers have called out increased business costs as their biggest challenge and this mirrors the experience of food wholesalers like BWG and our many independent retailers. We have to avoid a repeat of the past where we eroded our competitiveness through unsustainable increases in the costs of doing business including wages, local taxes and regulation.”
Over 200 indigenous and multinational suppliers, spanning categories including health and wellness, fresh food, pre-prepared meals, chilled produce, beverages and confectionery, are attending this year’s BWG Foods Trade Show, receiving exclusive access to approximately 1,800 retail representatives representing 900 stores, across the SPAR, EUROSPAR, MACE, Londis and XL retail brands.
BWG and its brands have been at the forefront of grocery retailing in Ireland for over 50 years and the Group is the market leader in the convenience sector. Through its branded retail estate BWG employs over 22,000 people across Ireland and serves in excess of one million shoppers every single day.