MORE than half of Irish shoppers have a poor knowledge of the nutritional content of meat and dairy products, according to research presented at the official launch of Meat and Dairy Facts which took place this morning at the Royal College of Physicians.
Meat and Dairy Facts has been established as a joint industry campaign to direct consumers towards science-based information about the nutritional benefits of meat and dairy, and the efforts that Irish farmers are taking to protect the environment and care for their animals.
The Red C research also found that eight out of ten Irish shoppers want to know more about what the farming industry is doing around climate change, but just 40% of those surveyed know where to look for information.
Concerningly misleading information is resulting in people becoming more wary of meat and dairy. According to the research, 41% of Irish shoppers believe they should cut back on meat and 30% think they should cut back on dairy, based on what they hear in the media.
This is despite the fact that more than half (59%) of consumers believe that the Irish farming industry is superior to our European neighbours, and that our grass-based farming system in particular is better for animal care.
Meat and Dairy Facts was set up by Bord Bia, Dairy Industry Ireland, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, the Irish Farmers Association, Meat Industry Ireland and the National Dairy Council.
According to the member organisations, the Red C findings showed that there is a serious information gap amongst consumers, which proves the need for a new approach.
“The lack of knowledge about the important role that meat and dairy plays in a healthy balanced diet – and about our environmental standards – is creating confusion. Consumers want reliable information and Meat and Dairy Facts will help fill that gap,” said Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia.
“Meat and dairy are a crucial part of Irish agriculture, but more importantly, they are vital in helping people to obtain the nutritious vitamins and minerals that contribute to good health,” said Conor Mulvihill, Director, Dairy Industry Ireland.
The Red C research produced a number of other key findings:
Almost two thirds wish they knew more about the benefits of meat and dairy for their health (62% and 65% respectively)
86% believe that grass-based systems are better for animal welfare.
84% feel the Government should do more to communicate clear information and facts about the benefits of meat and dairy.
“Ireland is a leader in sustainable meat and dairy production. Since 2014, there has been a 9% reduction in the carbon footprint on farms participating in the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, with a 5% reduction on farms involved in the Sustainable Beef & Lamb Assurance Scheme – it’s important that these facts are communicated,” said Pat McCormack, President, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association.
“With poor information about health claims and the environment becoming so common, people need an online resource where they can access information, and be certain that it is scientifically accurate. That is what Meat and Dairy Facts exists to do,” said Joe Healy, President, Irish Farmers Association.
“Just 13% of the population consume the daily recommended amount of dairy. The fact that so many people believe they should be reducing their intake further demonstrates just how much poor information is out there,” said Zoe Kavanagh, CEO, National Dairy Council.
“The grass-based farming that we have in Ireland helps us to produce high quality of meat and dairy products. It is also good for the environment. And crucially, it supports better animal care. It is vital that consumers know these facts,” said Joe Ryan, Director, Meat Industry Ireland.
In the coming months, Meat and Dairy Facts will be seeking to raise awareness through their website meatanddairyfacts.ie, in the media and across their social media platforms.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Melanie McDonald, Red Flag, +353 86 047 4531 firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to the editor
Meat and Dairy Facts is a consumer information campaign about the role that meat and dairy play in a healthy balanced diet and the efforts that Irish farmers are making to care for their animals and the environment.
Meat and Dairy Facts brings together processors and representative organisations to explain the importance of meat and dairy, and to provide consumers with the facts about our sustainably produced, world-class meat and dairy produce.
Meat and Dairy Facts members include Bord Bia, Dairy Industry Ireland, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, the Irish Farmers Association, Meat Industry Ireland and the National Dairy Council.
The research presented was based on a Red C survey of 984 main household grocery shoppers. The survey was conducted from 19th-25th September in support of the research and used a nationally representative sample.
You can follow Meat and Dairy Facts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.