- Dairy products remain a popular staple– playing a role in 92% of Irish consumers’ diets
- More than half of Irish consumers (66%) believe meals would be less enjoyable without dairy
- When buying dairy products, consumers value its healthy and nutritional benefits (77%) and taste (66%)
- 59% believe that the dairy sector can feed the world in a sustainable way
Milk, cheese and yoghurt feature prominently at mealtimes in households across the country according to findings of national research of 1,500 Irish adults by the European Milk Forum (EMF) as part of its “Dairy in a Healthy and Sustainable European Food System” campaign. As one of Ireland’s oldest indigenous industries, dairy is a fundamental part of our national heritage, and these findings show Irish consumers continue to support and trust in the industry.
Key purchasing considerations for consumers are nutrition and taste with 77% regarding dairy as a healthy and nutritious addition to their diet; 66% value the delicious taste of dairy while 48% believe dairy products are fresh and not highly processed.
Three out of every five believe that dairy can continue to feed the world in a sustainable way while 69% regard dairy as a vital part of rural communities and regional economies.
Speaking at a recent visit to the award-winning Connelly dairy farm in Tuam, Co. Galway, Zoe Kavanagh, Spokesperson for the European Milk Forum in Ireland and Chief Executive of the National Dairy Council, welcomed the findings citing the enduring popularity of dairy products in households across Ireland and the valuable food-producer role played by Irish dairy farmers.
“Dairy clearly continues to be a treasured part of the diets of Irish consumers and features prominently at mealtimes in households across the country. Consumers recognise the taste, quality and flavour provided by dairy products. Further to this, the findings demonstrate the role dairy farmers play as food producers providing healthy, nutritious and high-quality dairy products. The findings demonstrate the esteem in which consumers hold our indigenous dairy industry. Farmers such as the Connelly family in Tuam are an excellent example of best-in-class food producers producing nutritious locally produced dairy, on a grass-based system, supplying top quality dairy products.
Ms Kavanagh said that while the research findings were positive overall for the dairy sector, consumers are conscious of the climate crisis and want to see industry continue to take more steps towards sustainability.
“The dairy industry is conscious of meeting our ambitious national climate action targets by 2030 and achieving a reduction in agriculture emissions of 25%. It is a challenge but one that dairy is embracing; conscious of the significant milestones that need to be achieved collectively in both the short and longer term. The research reflects an awareness by consumers of the work undertaken so far and the efforts underway to ensure all dairy farmers are reaching and maintaining a high standard of environmental sustainability.
“Irish consumers are focused on the climate crisis and a strong majority of Irish consumers (89%) consider dairy part of a sustainable diet, showing that the industry has demonstrated to consumers that dairy farmers across the length and breadth of the country are serious and committed to farming sustainably. The dairy industry needs the continuing trust and understanding of consumers as it continues to respond to the challenges that lie ahead.”
Pictured at the award-winning Connelly dairy farm in Tuam, Co. Galway were (l-r) Zoe Kavanagh, Spokesperson for the European Milk Forum and CEO of the NDC and Galway dairy farmers Yvonne and Austin Connelly
Notes to editors
Zoe Kavanagh, Spokesperson for the European Milk Forum and CEO of the NDC is available for interview on request to Káno Communications.
Claire Egan T: 086 8653507
Kano Communications Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Doireann Nic Dhonncha T: 086 168 4342
Káno Communications E: email@example.com
About the Research
Survey data is based on a representative sample of 1,500 Irish respondents aged 18 years and over and collected March 2022 by the European Milk Forum as part of “Dairy in a Healthy and Sustainable European food system”, a three-year EU-funded campaign to gain a better understanding of consumers’ perceptions of sustainability, health, climate change and the challenges they pose in relation to the dairy sector. Consumer research was also carried out in Northern Ireland, Belgium, Denmark & France.
About the European Milk Forum
The European Milk Forum is a non-profit organisation which plays a vital role in driving the strategic development, management, and exchange of integrated information initiatives on milk and dairy across Europe.
About the National Dairy Council
The National Dairy Council (NDC) champions the role of quality pasture-based dairy and its nutrition benefits in supporting healthier, more active living. The private farmer-funded marketing agency works to promote and protect Ireland’s dairy reputation at home and abroad and believes in a future in which Irish dairy is recognized and trusted as a vital part of people’s diet and general health across the life stages, indispensable to Ireland’s social and economic wellbeing.