A member survey carried out by Cáis highlighted fears for significant job losses and an estimated 75% drop in sales as a result of the closure of foodservice outlets and farmers markets which accounted for the majority of sales in 2019.
In light of this the Association of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers appealed to the retail sector to continue to stock its product and is encouraging consumers to support the industry at this time.
In a statement the group hat represents 68 Cáis Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers also expressed concern about finding a home for excess milk produced, on their own farms and as well as speciality milk from sheep, goat and buffalo.
The association acknowledged that it was incredibly grateful for the support received by retailers to date but that continued support was required to keep the industry operational.
Buy Irish Cheese Online
To mitigate the loss of foodservice and to further support the industry, Cáis has also launched a ‘Buy Irish Farmhouse Cheese Online’ campaign to encourage consumers to purchase Irish farmhouse cheese directly from suppliers and to have it directly delivered to their homes.
“We are devastated at how the Covid-19 public health emergency has impacted on the foodservice business and the economy in Ireland," said Louis Grubb, Chairperson of Cáis and founder of Cashel Farmhouse Cheese.
Grubb highlighted that members of its association are typically very small, independent producers with few resources behind them and that they are however very significant to the fabric of rural Ireland and to the food image of our country.
"It is important the when this crisis has stabilised, and we return to a new normality, that we still have speciality cheesemakers in Ireland," she addd.
"The only way we can ensure the viability of our sector is by doing everything we can to encourage Irish retailers to stock, and promote, our products at this time. We are very grateful for the support received to date on this matter.”
Cáis was founded in 1983 to foster the growth of natural handmade cheese production in Ireland.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.