Ireland’s prepared foods sector has an annual output that is worth €4.5 billionAIDAN CRAWLEY/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has knocked almost €600 million of the value of Irish agri-food exports and left Britain-dependent food producers in a precarious position, according to a new report.

Research by Food Drink Ireland found that producers of prepared foods were among the most exposed to the damaging effects of a hard Brexit. These foods include ready-to-eat meals, confectionery and bakery products.

Respondents to the survey expressed concern over their ability to sustain low margin business in the UK. They were also worried about a further weakening of sterling, the imposition of tariffs and higher supply chain costs that would be incurred if the UK leaves the customs union as expected.

Kevin McPartlan, director of the prepared consumer foods division…