NIFDA issues stark warning on energy costs

The NI Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) has called for immediate help from the new Liz Truss-led UK government to help members deal with rising energy costs within their businesses.

According to NIFDA executive director Michael Bell, his members have been trying to absorb as much of the energy price inflation as possible, but, with costs continuing to rise across the food supply chain, there is a real possibility that food supply will be hit.

“Immediate assistance is needed to help food manufacturers through the winter. If action is not taken urgently, there will be serious concerns about the sustainability and viability of businesses here,” he said.

NI agri shows get support fund update

Local agricultural shows will receive £103,707 under the Bounce Back Support Scheme. The financial support aims to help agricultural shows recover from two years of postponements during the pandemic.

“Upon receipt of a letter of offer, I would urge representatives to read it carefully and follow guidance contained therein, paying particular attention to the requirement to respond by 30 September 2022 in order to progress to the final stage of funding being released,” said Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots.

M&S offers slow reared chicken

From 7 September 2022 major retailer M&S will only be selling slower-reared fresh chicken in UK stores.

The birds are being fed on a multigrain diet designed to support slower natural growth and will have 20% more space, alongside an enhanced environment. The chicken is sold as assured by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

“M&S’s move to offer 100% slower-reared, RSPCA Assured fresh chicken is the biggest positive change to chicken farming in a generation. It’s a landmark achievement for animal welfare, which we hope will set a leading example for other retailers,” said RSPCA CEO Mike Baker.