Dairy chief hails sector's steel despite 4.9pc fall in milk sales
The value of milk sales fell by 4.9pc last year despite an increase of 1pc in the total volume of sales.
However, National Dairy Council (NDC) chief executive, Helen Brophy insists that although 2009 was a year of turbulence in the sector, milk and dairy showed resilience in the face of recession.
Speaking at the launch of the NDC annual review yesterday, Ms Brophy said milk and dairy products had succeeded in sustaining, or even improving, volumes last year.
"Price deflation was a feature of 2009 and according to the CSO, the overall price fall for all food was 7.8pc.
"By comparison, in this difficult climate, dairy held its value better than many other categories," she said.
The total volume of butter and spreads grew marginally, according to the annual review. Sales of butter declined 2pc but returned to a positive position by the end of the year. By contrast, the sales value of branded health spreads fell by 11pc.
The cheese category grew marginally in volume over the year although the value of the category fell by 5.2pc.
A trend towards home cooking was reflected in the sales of cream, which grew in value by 4.9pc last year and showed a 1.2pc increase in sales.