Many of us think Irish brands are Irish made, but it is not always the case, writes ConallÓ Fátharta
IF you think the everyday tea, soup, and cheese you consume are made here in Ireland, it’s time to think again.
A recent study carried out on behalf of Love Irish Food found a surprisingly large number of people thought well-known brands were produced here when, in fact, many are not only manufactured abroad, but are not even Irish-owned.
The study, undertaken by market research experts, Kantar Worldpanel, found that the food grocery market in Ireland was worth an estimated €7.1bn last year, with branded products representing €3.3bn, or 47%, of the market, and non-branded and private label representing the remaining 53% or €3.8bn.
@BuyIrish yeah, I'm all for supporting Irish produce and jobs— James McCormack (@jmccormack87) November 23, 2012
Love Irish Food estimates that at least €1.5bn, or 45% of the branded products sold last year, were imported, highlighting an estimated €300m opportunity for the Irish economy if shoppers were to switch to buy just two more Irish-produced products per shop.
Interestingly, many of these are bought by consumers who believe they are buying Irish-made products, when many are produced abroad.
For example, some 80% of those surveyed believed that Siúcra sugar was Irish, when in fact it is only Irish in name. It is actually German-owned and produced.
Similarly, 77% believe that the traditional staple of many Irish homes — Lyons Tea — is produced in Ireland, when in fact it is owned by the Unilever group and manufactured entirely in Britain.
The same can be said for Cully and Sully Meals, which is now US-owned and produced in Britain.
Other products many Irish people believe be homegrown but which are produced abroad include HB Ice Cream, Erin Soup, and Charleville Cheese.
Interestingly, other products not commonly believed to be Irish are just that. For example, Robert Roberts’ tea and coffee has been produced entirely in Ireland for well over a century.
Other products produced entirely in Ireland include Avonmore Fresh Soup, Goodfella’s Pizza, Batchelors, Barry’s Tea, YR Sauce, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Twirl, Flake, and Time Out, Club Orange, Cidona, Club Lemon, Kilmeaden cheese, and Miwadi, to name a few.
Executive director of Love Irish Food Kieran Rumley said small changes towards buying Irish would make an enormous economic impact here, but said consumers were increasingly aware of the origin of the contents of their shopping baskets.
“There are some quiet champions of Irish-produced [products] to be found out there, brands that are here, employing people and contributing,” said Mr Rumley. “People seem to be making a genuine effort to buy Irish in the current climate. The price is competitive and when people go out to spend, they seem to be more conscious of buying Irish. It’s a patriotic impulse with a small ‘p’.”
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Mr Rumley said it was time for people to be concerned about where their produce comes from, as well as being concerned with its ingredients and nutritional value.
“People get very exercised about ingredients or nutritional content but why not emphasise on packaging the country of origin? It’s a very easy thing to add to packaging or to a shelf where a product is sold,” he said.
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