IFA National Liquid Milk Committee Chairman Teddy Cashman today (Wed) said the National Dairy Council’s NDC mark was the only fully audited labelling scheme in place which guaranteed consumers that the milk bearing it was both produced and processed in Ireland, supporting local jobs and the local economy.
Mr Cashman said IFA had carried out an initial study, on the basis of random store visits countrywide during November and December, to establish the extent to which the seven main multiple retailers give consumers the choice to purchase NDC-marked Irish milk in branded or private label format. This survey will be carried out on a quarterly basis to monitor any changes in the market place and inform consumers.
The first study shows big discrepancies, from retailers which make a total commitment to Irish, NDC-marked milk in all pack sizes of branded or private label non-speciality milk – Tesco and Supervalu – to those that do not at all – Marks + Spencer
In between is Dunnes Stores, which disappointingly for a long-established Irish retailer is not offering their budget conscious consumers NDC-marked Irish milk under their private label. Aldi’s record is mixed. They are increasing their NDC-marked offering in all pack sizes, but confusingly not in every store. Lidl only offer NDC-marked 1 litre packs. Superquinn, which while offering NDC-marked choice for branded milk, only offer 1 litre private label packs bearing the NDC guarantee. It should be noted that Marks and Spencer, Aldi and Lidl do not carry branded milk in their stores. “These retailers can all do better to support Irish jobs and the local economy, and give their consumers a choice to do the same at all price points,” Mr Cashman said.
“Many retailers feature ‘Irish’ labels and logos of their own making on their own Private Label milk. However, consumers should be aware that the NDC mark is the only actually audited scheme which guarantees them that by choosing the milk bearing the mark, they are supporting Irish jobs on farm, in milk processing and in the local economy generally,” he said.
“Irish milk producers provide Irish consumers with tremendous value and quality, though the price they currently receive for their milk does not cover their costs of production. Studies have shown that Irish consumers are keen to support Irish jobs in their buying choices. Irish milk bearing the NDC mark offers absolute value for money compared with alternative options,” Mr Cashman said.
“This study, and its repetition as a quarterly barometer throughout 2013, will help consumers make more informed choices as to where to shop for milk while supporting the local economy, regardless of their household budget. I expect it will surprise many that some of the retailers that are most readily identified as Irish are not necessarily the best supporters of Irish milk,” he said.
“We urge Irish consumers to choose NDC marked milk, and those retailers who have not yet made a full commitment to sourcing locally produced and processed milk for their private label offering to help consumers make this choice at no additional cost. We look forward to showing any progress in this regard in our forthcoming surveys in the New Year,” he concluded.
Niall Madigan (01) 450 1931/ 086 822 8635
Morag Devins (01) 426 0344/ 086 263 3940
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