Almost two-thirds (65%) of Irish consumers said they trust Irish dairy farmers to care for the environment, which is an increase of almost 40% on what consumer trust was in 2022, National Dairy Council (NDC) CEO Zoe Kavanagh said.
In 2022, just 47% of consumers said they trusted dairy farmers to look after the environment, according to Kavanagh, who was speaking at the Irish Farmers Journal Dairy Day in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Co Cork, on Thursday 23 November.
Kavanagh described these statistics as “a good news story”, adding that the simple reason this has happened is due to the NDC doubling down on investment and communication with Irish consumers, educating them on exactly how Irish dairy is produced.
“We have really focused on the production advocacy agenda and we can see that they [consumers] have gone from low awareness and perhaps being influenced by negative media, very much so in 2022, to I would say a much more balance in the debate - despite the issues that we are well aware of.
“I would say that the consumer is more aware, more educated, and 2023 is more positive than 2022,” she said.
Speaking about markets, Bord Bia dairy specialist David Kennedy said that there is a global demand for Irish dairy products and, as a country, Ireland is “well able to support that demand”.
“If we look at what’s happened in Ireland over the last 10 years, we’ve 500,000 extra tonnes of product to find a home for – and we’ve found homes for it.
"When you look at where that product is gone, it’s gone everywhere, but largely we’re seeing big uptake in Europe, North America and the UK.
“What we’re finding is that those tried and trusted markets where value and quality is appreciated, they’re still the main homes for Irish dairy,” he said.
Kennedy said that this demand is growing and believes it will grow further as supply is curtailed in those markets.