Six out of every 10 Irish consumers want to follow a more sustainable diet, according to a European Milk Forum survey of 1,524 Irish adults.

The survey also found that eight in 10 consumers believe that Ireland is a suitable place for dairy production, given its climate.

CEO of the National Dairy Council (NDC) and spokesperson for the European Milk Forum in Ireland, Zoe Kavanagh, said that the results highlight the value placed by consumers on locally produced Irish dairy products.

She commented: “The voice of the consumer hasn’t always been clearly heard in the recent debates around Ireland’s dairy industry, but this research clearly highlights the high regard in which they hold our indigenous dairy industry – recognising that fresh Irish dairy products deliver essential nutrition (77.4%) and that a climate like ours couldn’t be more perfect for the production of sustainable grass-based milk, cheese and yoghurt.”

Labelling confusion

Over 60% of those surveyed want to follow a more sustainable diet, and over half said that clearer sustainability-related labelling and increased accessibility to sustainable products is needed.

“The research identifies confusion – namely a lack of clear, consistent and coherent information about sustainability on food and beverage products – as a key barrier to this ‘sustainability switch’,” continued Kavanagh.

“This has been an issue for consumers for some time now and continues to emerge annually in our surveys. Quality assurance marks such as the NDC’s Green Rosette or Bord Bia’s Origin Green on packs can help the consumer seek out local, sustainably produced, healthy products.

“The research also identifies a clear desire from most consumers to follow a sustainable – or even more sustainable – diet. What is particularly interesting, however, is the barriers that get in the way of this ambition to follow a more sustainable diet,” Kavanagh concluded.