Big boost for local Irish food producers

A survey shows a big jump in awareness of the term ‘artisan food’

Big boost for local Irish food producers

Tomatoes at the launch of Beemune at the Dublin City Council Fruit and Vegetable Market | Image: RollingNews.ie

A new study has revealed that two-thirds of Irish consumers believe it is important to buy local food.

The research into consumer attitudes was presented to over 200 small food and drink producers at Bord Bia's Small Business Open Day in Meath.

Highlights from the study include:

  • Irish people claim to buy local food at least once a week
  • One in three consumers say they are purchasing more today than they did 12 months ago
  • Two-thirds of Irish consumers believe it is important purchase local food

While two-thirds of consumers perceive local food to be of high quality with natural ingredients, seeing it as better quality than mass produced food.

And nearly four in five Irish of people believe that they are supporting the community when purchasing local foods.

The survey also shows that the awareness of the term ‘local food’ has fallen by 16% since 2010 - while awareness of the term ‘artisan food’ has increased by 26%.

While only half of consumers associate local food with being expensive, and local food is often thought of on a smaller scale with homemade associations and not mass produced.

Bord Bia also revealed that the number of small food and drink businesses it works with has grown by over 40% - from 400 to 700 - in just under four years.

Minister of the State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle, said: "The fact that Bord Bia has nearly doubled its number of clients is affirmation of the resilience of the small business sector in tackling challenges and in converting ideas and concepts to commercial business.

"These producers’ survival and growth not only brings investment returns for individual businesses, it also underpins the wider local community and the image of Ireland as a provider of high quality, innovative and sustainable food excellence."

The sector is estimated to be worth some €400m.