Nearly 70% ‘want to support local food businesses when eating out’

More than two-thirds of Irish diners want to support local food businesses when eating out, according to a Bord Bia survey.

Bord Bia’s ‘Just Ask’ 2013 campaign found that supporting local businesses is a key consideration for 69% of the public when eating out. The campaign urges diners to look out for ‘the use of Irish/local produce’ and urges businesses to give prominence to this information on menus. Just Ask was launched in 2009.

Bord Bia’s Maureen Gahan said: “Since we first launched the Just Ask campaign, we have seen an increased commitment from restaurateurs and their chefs to inform customers where the food they’re eating was produced. It’s fantastic to see such a commitment by some of Ireland’s top restaurants to sourcing products from local suppliers.”

The latest research found that 20% of people eat out at least once a month, while 62% believe the supplier/origin of meat served at the venue we choose is important. Over half (57%) of Irish diners also believe it’s important to include such information on menus.

Diners are also becoming more vocal. Some 66% of people are prepared to complain about the quality of food they’re served, while 70% will query a cost item on a bill.

The campaign also includes the ‘Just Ask Restaurant of the Month’, selected by trusted foodie Georgina Campbell. This rewards ‘best practice’ in giving customers information and transparency on country of origin of food served.

The 2013 Just Ask annual award winner is Ard Bia in Spanish Arch, Galway — a café, restaurant and wine bar.

Ard Bia owner Aoibheann MacNamara said: “We cook everything in-house. We strive to provide food that is ‘Great for Galway’. When sourcing produce we think local, think fresh, think forage, think sustainable. We’re fortunate to have amazing suppliers who think as passionately about their produce as we do.”

Maureen Gahan concluded: “We want to remind diners about the Just Ask campaign and encourage them to check the menus in restaurants to look for the food origin information. If it is not written on the menu, then we would ask consumers to Just Ask.”

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