Quality food is the 'victim of bad marketing’
A leading food economist has said the quality of Irish food has not been marketed in the right way in many instances.
Speaking at the Teagasc Moorepark 2019 Open Day, Ciarán Fitzgerald said if consumers want food that adheres to sustainable climate agenda then they must be willing to pay for it.
“Dairy products are being sold at or below cost,” Mr Fitzgerald said pointing to the fact that a “litre of milk costs 70c while a juice alternative is €2.70 (per litre)”.
Mr Fitzgerald argued that this is “fundamentally wrong” and that quality food like dairy products have being victims of “bad marketing”.
He said that food needs to have a “climate change pricing” which means that climate-friendly produced food would command a higher price and this would ensure the industry “can continue sustainable growth”.
Mr Fitzgerald argued that sustainability is not just about the environment but economic sustainability is also critical.
“The expansion of dairy is not just integrated in rural communities but it has a national impact. For every €1 generated by Irish dairy €0.90 is spent in the Irish economy. Dairy is the gift that keeps on giving,” he said.
In relation to trade deals, agriculture has “consistently” been undervalued, according to Mr Fitzgerald. He argued that that agriculture and food production “needs to be a cornerstone” in the climate discussion.
Some 12,000 attended the biennial dairy event at the Teagasc venue in north Cork. Fitzgerald was part of a panel which contained Ornua chief executive John Jordan, nutritionist Orla Walsh and Matt Crowe from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as west Cork farmers Marguerite and Michael Crowley.