Irish food promotion body unveiled
Some 31 Irish food and drink brands have formed a new organisation called Love Irish Food to encourage people to buy more Irish-manufactured produce.
Participating brands include Barry's Tea, Tayto, Ballygowan, Batchelors, Avonmore and Odlums. Membership also includes artisan producers such as Cully and Sully, Glenisk and Follain.
In the coming months, these brands will begin to carry the "Love Irish Food" logo on their products.
A public information campaign will begin in the coming weeks called "One More Makes all the Difference". It will encourage consumers to put one more Irish-manufactured product into the shopping trolley.
Chairman of Love Irish Food, economist Jim Power, said this would be the largest campaign of its kind ever undertaken by the food and drinks industry. The campaign also includes a website, www.loveirishfood.ie.
Mr Power said brands could only carry the Love Irish Food logo if at least 80 per cent of the product's manufacturing process took place in this State and if ingredients were sourced locally where possible.
He said many consumers were confused as to what constituted an Irish brand. A survey conducted by Love Irish Food found that 84 per cent of people believed there was a strong need for a symbol that clearly indicated which brands are Irish and which are not.
Some 72 per cent of Irish people surveyed in a 'Loyalty to Irish Brands' study by An Bord Bia said they bought, or tended to buy what they knew or considered to be Irish brands.
"The food and drinks industry plays a key role in the Irish economy and I believe that it will have a central role to play in its medium-term recovery," Mr Power said.
"It is Ireland's largest indigenous industry and is responsible for the direct and indirect employment of over 230,000 workers and must be given as much support as possible."