SOME two-thirds of Irish consumers believe it is “important to buy local food”.
The results of Bord Bia’s research into consumer attitudes to local food were presented to over 200 small food and drink producers at Bord Bia’s recent Small Business Open Day in Enfield, Co Meath.
The Bord Bia study has revealed that local food has become more widely available and there is a growing association for home-grown local food with gifting and special occasions.
The organisation estimates that the small food and drink business sector is worth some €400 million to the economy.
Opening the conference, Minister of the State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, Andrew Doyle told delegates: “Bord Bia will continue to support Irish client companies in this regard, providing advice on market opportunities and emerging trends.
“The most immediate impact of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union has been Sterling depreciation and volatility.
“While demand for premium-quality, safe food products is increasing long-term, the advice and information provided here can help companies in very practical ways to hold on to business.”
Bord Bia’s study explores Irish consumers’ definition of ‘local food’, and their attitudes towards it, whilst understanding what motivates them to purchase such produce.
Speaking about the research findings, Mary Morrissey, Bord Bia’s Food and Beverage Manager, said: “It is encouraging for small food businesses to hear consumers saying they buy local food products at least once a week and that one-third are purchasing more today than they did a year ago.
“It is clear that the sector continues to offer opportunities for small producers to deliver on demand for local and quality foods directly linked back to the producer. Consumers want to connect with the story of the producer.”
The study’s findings were a key part of the Bord Bia conference, which also covered a wide range of categories foe the key agri sector, ranging from food waste to the rise of premium dairy, craft beer and healthy snacking produce.
The conference presentations also focused on how small businesses can interpret changing environmental trends and use them to grow their business.