Switching to Irish food could boost economy by €1bn

SHOPPERS could add more than €1 billion to the economy by switching a quarter of their weekly grocery spend from imported to Irish food.

That’s according to the chairman of a major food festival who disclosed €4.6bn worth of food is imported each year – the equivalent of €1,000 for every Irish person.

A senior executive with 30 years’ experience with the international nutritional ingredients and cheese group, Glanbia, Ger Mullally said if Irish people were to transfer even a quarter of their spend on imported food to Irish produce, there would be a significant benefit to the economy at a time when it needs all the support it can get.

“Just imagine the impact this spend would have on every community in Ireland,” said Mr Mullally, who is chairman of the Savour Kilkenny festival.

He said festivals such as Savour Kilkenny – which will be held from October 22 to 25 – help highlight the wide range of top-quality, locally produced food that is available at a competitive cost.

This year’s festival should put Kilkenny firmly on the map as a true food destination by exhibiting the best Kilkenny and its hinterland has to offer by way of food, he said.

One of the highlights of the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival will be Ireland’s first ever FoodCamp where food professionals and food amateurs will come together in a unique forum to share ideas and experiences.

The underlying theme of the FoodCamp – which will be attended by food writers and bloggers, chefs, producers and representatives from food agencies – is: “Can the food industry lead Ireland out of the recession?”

Meanwhile, a major new three-year food strategy for Kilkenny is to be announced during the festival by the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Kilkenny Enterprise Board, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia, Fáilte Ireland and Teagasc.

The strategy to guide the Kilkenny region in every element of its food development includes the opening of an Artisan Food School in Kilkenny.

The walls of Kilkenny Castle will form a spectacular backdrop for this year’s festival with a tented food village.

* www.savourkilkeny.com


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