The IFA has demanded answers from Aldi as to why it does not use the names of the dairies that supply its liquid milk on the carton rather than the brand name ‘Clonbawn Irish Dairy’.
IFA president Tim Cullinan said a statement issued by Aldi in response to an IFA advert placed in the Sunday Independent was misleading.
He said that, in the statement, Aldi referred to its milk brand as ‘Clonbawn’, but on its milk cartons it is called ‘Clonbawn Irish Dairy’.
In its statement, Aldi said it was proud to have long-standing relationships with several Irish liquid milk suppliers, including Arrabawn, Strathroy, Lakeland Dairies and Aurivo.
Cullinan asked why these dairies were not on the cartons rather that the fictitious Clonbawn.
“This is part of an ongoing and deliberate branding strategy to undermine farmer-owned brands and drive down the price paid to producers,” he said.
He said Aldi was deliberately trying to mislead consumers with a local-sounding dairy so they could change the supplier putting the milk in the carton without making it clear to the consumer.
Cullinan added that while other retailers had their own brands, they were not using fictitious farms, dairies or creameries to mislead consumers.
The IFA advertisement states that the milk for sale in Aldi and Lidl is branded as Coolree Creamery (Lidl) and Clonbawn Irish Dairy (Aldi), but that no such creamery or dairy exist in Ireland.
The advertisement also states: “To be sure your milk is from the Republic of Ireland look for the NDC (National Dairy Council) logo.”
In a statement, group buying director for Aldi Ireland John Curtin said 100% of Aldi’s Clonbawn-branded milk and cream was sourced from Republic of Ireland farms.
“The majority of our milk is processed in the Republic of Ireland and carries the NDC mark, but as some of our milk is packed in Omagh, it therefore cannot carry the NDC mark,” Curtin said.
Lidl said it was disappointed with the advertisement, which it considered to be “misleading and possibly defamatory”. It has referred the issue to its legal team for further consideration.