Tubridy proclaims his love . . . for our native nibbles
RYAN Tubridy revealed his passion for Irish food yesterday.
The RTE star was at Bewley's Cafe in Dublin to celebrate the first anniversary of the Love Irish Food brand, where he chatted about the pleasures of "gastro-patriotism".
The 2fm star declared his "gra" for iconic labels such as Barry's Tea and Teatime Express as he extolled the virtues of 77 Irish food and drink brands that now make up the Love Irish Food organisation.
Three-quarters of Love Irish Food members say the sales of their products have increased since the brand was launched last September with 29 food and drink brands.
Love Irish Food chairman Jim Power said that the aim for the next 12 months was, on the one hand, "to get more members" and on the other "to get more Irish consumers thinking Irish" .
This month, Love Irish Food kicks off another public information drive under the theme 'One More Makes All the Difference', which urges shoppers to put just one more Irish brand into their trolley.
"Buying Irish does not have to be expensive," Mr Power said. "Some Irish brands are incredibly good value for money while others are premium products.
"This campaign is not designed to send anyone on a guilt trip. We are simply trying to raise awareness among consumers."
Mr Power said he hoped to grow the Love Irish Food membership to at least 100 brands in the coming months and stressed that the label was here "for the long term".
A recent survey showed that 76pc of shoppers already actively seek out an Irish-made alternative.
Sales of Golden Irish eggs have soared by 25-30pc since the firm joined the Love Irish Food campaign, said Brian Eivers, co-owner and sales director of the company, which is based in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan.
"It gives us a bit of leverage when we're trying to get into stores," Mr Eivers said.
"It helps to open doors with retailers and it's something consumers seem quite keen to buy into.
"Sales have increased dramatically since we got involved eight to 10 months ago."
Although prices were down, eggs sold quite well during the recession because of the fact that shoppers recognised they were good value for money.
The company, which employs 40 people and is supplied by 30 farmers, is now drawing on eggs from 350,000 hens.
The Love Irish Food logo on its packaging and on shop shelves helped to boost sales, added Mr Eivers.