Drink up, says Minister as National Dairy Week launched

€250,000 campaign is organised by the National Dairy Council

Rob Kearney, Zoe Kavanagh, chief executive of the  National Dairy Council, and Minister for Agriculture Simon  Coveney at the launc h of National Dairy Week.

Rob Kearney, Zoe Kavanagh, chief executive of the National Dairy Council, and Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney at the launc h of National Dairy Week.

 

Irish people should practise what they preach by consuming dairy products as we currently export 90 per cent of what we produce, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

Speaking at the launch of next week’s National Dairy Week, he said people should look in the mirror when it comes to the dairy sector. “If we aren’t the ones who are using or appreciating where the dairy industry is at, in terms of understanding the nutritional value... well then we’re not really practising what we preach in terms of providing those products to other markets around the world.”

Milk volumes are expected to increase by 50 per cent by 2020, following the ending of the milk quota regime earlier this month and most of that extra production will be exported in the form of dairy ingredients and products.

Mr Coveney said visitors to this State should be able to see Irish people enjoying the benefits of dairy produce to full effect.

“Dairy is good for you. We need to understand it better. We need to use the nutritional value, the protein value of dairy more effectively in Ireland for the betterment of quality of life right across society, not just in our top athletes but also for general family use as well.”

Next week’s campaign led by the National Dairy Council has received the backing of rugby players Rob and Dave Kearney and Olympian Derval O’Rourke. Run.

The €250,000 campaign includes multimedia advertising and promotion and a series of events to encourage people to consume dairy produce.

National Dairy Council chief executive Zoe Kavanagh said the nutritional value of dairy produce was still not fully understood.

“We’ve done a really good job at establishing the calcium message and I think everybody understands the whole link between dairy and bones...but more exciting for the next era is to really build a comprehension of protein. It’s something that naturally occurs within dairy but its link to the consumers’ health agenda is not well understood,” she said.

Dave Kearney said he was concerned at findings that children and teenagers were not getting enough calcium. “Those childhood and teen years are when healthy eating habits should be encouraged,” he said.

National Dairy Week events include a Macra na Feirme challenge to find who can drink a pint of milk in the fastest time, at University College Dublin next Wednesday.

Derval O’Rourke will be meeting children at Dublin Zoo’s family farm next Monday while Teagasc will be organising a farm walk on the Dwan family farm in Bohernamona, near Thurles next Thursday.

The family won the National Dairy Council and Kerrygold’s top quality milk award last year.