Buying Irish is important to 71 per cent of Irish consumers, new research conducted by Ignite Research has found.
The research was conducted among 1,000 Irish consumers for Homebird, Ireland’s newest sliced chicken and turkey brand. More than half of respondents, (56 per cent) said meat should be both farmed and produced in Ireland to receive ‘produced in Ireland’ label.
Homebird, an O’Brien Fine Foods brand, which is a 100 per cent Irish and Bord Bia-approved producer of pre-cooked, ready-to-serve chicken and turkey products in Ireland, published the research findings today as the brand marked its ‘Food Miles’ campaign, an initiative designed to highlight food origin, the story of Homebird and the low food miles of the brand.
Half of respondents in this research said they would not knowingly buy meat products that have travelled between 601 and 1,000 miles and almost 80 per cent would not knowingly buy meat products that have travelled between 1,001 and 2,000 miles. However, Homebird points to Safefood data that suggests a significant proportion of chicken is imported from farms on mainland Europe for production and packaging in Irish factories.
The research found that 80 per cent of consumers check the label of meat products that they purchase, with over half (57 per cent) checking specifically for the country of origin.
John O’Brien, managing director at O’Brien Fine Foods, said: “Provenance matters to Irish consumers. We are increasingly conscious of where our food comes from, its quality, and its nutritional value and health benefits.” He added that some confusion exists with regard labelling among consumers.
Almost one fifth check if the product packaging is recyclable.
When asked to rate the importance of factors influencing their food purchasing decisions, 53 per cent of Irish consumers rated ‘price’ as very important. Freshness and quality ranked higher than value for money with 69.5 per cent saying, ‘freshness’ is very important, and 65 per cent said the same for ‘quality’.
“Homebird’s Food Miles campaign is about educating consumers on food origin and demonstrating that low food miles matter. Locally-sourced meat that travels from an Irish farm to an Irish supermarket is demonstrably fresher, has a lower impact on the environment and trust and quality is guaranteed. There can be some confusion with regard the origin of products and labelling, which consumers need to be aware off. Produced in Ireland doesn’t always necessarily mean farmed and produced in Ireland and it is the responsibility of brands to be clear and consumers to be aware, particularly when food origin is increasingly important to us. Quality and freshness is key for Irish consumers and Homebird’s chicken and turkey products combine the best of both worlds: they are ready-to-eat and locally sourced from Irish farms.”