Wexford People

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Wexford sees 40 per cent rise in dairy consumption in those under 35

Almost 40 per cent of Wexford consumers under 35, increased their consumption of dairy products, milk, cheese and yoghurt, since the pandemic lockdown began.

According to the National Dairy Council, based on research carried out by the European Milk Forum, it was as a result of families seeking nutritional value, local natural produce and the assurance of quality in a time of uncertainty.

The research was carried out as part of the European Milk Forum's 'Sustainable Dairy in Europe' campaign to get a better understanding of consumers' perceptions of sustainability, climate change and the challenges they pose in relation to the dairy sector.

When it comes to purchasing choices a number of factors are considered by consumers including: Price (10 per cent); Nutritional value (34 per cent); Healthiness (31 per cent).

Of the people surveyed 10 per cent considered carbon footprint while sustainable packaging was a concern for 19 per cent of people.

However, 91 per cent of people think we can prevent all, or most, of the catastrophic consequences of climate change.

Zoe Kavanagh, Chief Executive of the National Dairy Council and spokesperson for the European Milk Forum in Ireland, said the research demonstrated that Irish consumers value dairy products as well as our indigenous dairy industry.

She said it's heartening to know consumers are seeking out dairy products because they know they can rely on their natural nutritional value and they can be assured of the quality of locally produced Irish dairy.

Ms Kavanagh also said 88 per cent of Irish consumers feel Irish dairy produce is superior to that of other countries.

With regard to climate change, Ms Kavanagh, said the survey revealed that the responsibility to create a more sustainable future requires a collaborative effort that should be shared between the production industry, consumers and politicians.

'With only two-in-five consumers [42 per cent] feeling well-informed about sustainability, it is clear there is a lot of work to be done by stakeholders right across Government, civil society and industry,' commented Ms Kavanagh.

She also said Irish dairy farmers and producers are committed to playing their part in a national effort to address climate change, by creating a more sustainable industry and protecting rural biodiversity.

'Ireland already has the most efficient production system in the European Union with low levels of carbon emissions, due to our grass-based and family farming systems,' she said.

'Looking to the future, recognising the carbon capture potential of our grasslands and hedgerows, and differentiating between biogenic methane and carbon dioxide are key issues that could provide significant climate and industry benefits,' she added.

Some of the key findings from the research included: 96 per cent agree that climate change is already occurring or will occur in the near future; 70 per cent are worried about climate change; 88 per cent of consumers believe that Irish dairy is superior to dairy produced elsewhere in the world; 92 per cent of people feel country of origin is an important factor in buying dairy products; 82 per cent of people want the dairy industry to be protected and supported for future generations.

Wexford People