Outlets vary on Irish milk stocks
SuperValu and Tesco have come out on top in a new league of supermarket chains selling milk from the Republic, while Marks & Spencer fares worst.
The study was conducted by the Irish Farmers' Association to highlight supermarkets that sell milk bearing the National Dairy Council (NDC) mark. The packaging mark indicates milk and cream that has been farmed and processed in the Republic of Ireland.
The IFA conducted random store visits in recent weeks to see if the shops were selling branded or private label milk with the NDC mark.
It found both SuperValu and Tesco sold NDC-marked milk in all pack sizes of branded and private label non-speciality milk. The survey found Marks & Spencer did not offer any milk from the Republic. A spokeswoman for the retailer said it sourced all its milk in Northern Ireland “and there are no plans to change suppliers in the near future”.
IFA liquid milk chairman Teddy Cashman said it would surprise many people to find some of the retailers that were most readily identified as Irish were not necessarily the the best supporters of Irish milk.
He said Dunnes Stores sold NDC-marked milk in its branded products but it was disappointing that the Irish retailer was not offering Irish milk under their private label. The study found that Aldi’s record was mixed. It was increasing its NDC-marked offering in all pack sizes, but not in every store.
Lidl only offered NDC-marked one-litre packs. Superquinn offered NDC-marked choice for branded milk but only offered one-litre private label packs with the NDC guarantee.
Mr Cashman said the survey would be carried out on a quarterly basis to monitor any changes in the marketplace and inform consumers.
“These retailers can all do better to support Irish jobs and the local economy, and give their consumers a choice to do the same at all price points,” he said.
Mr Cashman also advised consumers that some retailers featured their own "Irish" labels and logos, but the NDC mark was the only audited scheme which guaranteed that the milk and cream came from Irish farms and was processed in the State.