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Weekly Round Up, January 13, 2015

Published on Jan 12 2015 12:40 PM

Weekly Round Up, January 13, 2015

ABP Foods is set to be the first company to benefit from the end of the European beef ban in the USA. It is believed that ABP Foods, founded and chaired by Larry Goodman, is going to announce a contract with food distribution group, Sysco for distribution in the US. It is expected that ABP will sell premium grass-fed beef through the upscale supermarket, Whole Foods. The US market reopening to Irish beef marks the end of a 16-year ban on European beef products, put in place during the BSE crisis of the 1990's. It is understood that a number of different Irish meat processors have applications to sell beef pending with the US Department of Agriculture.

Figures from the KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI consumer sentiment index showed a climb in consumer sentiment to 90.5 last month, marking its second highest level since January 2007. While not beating September’s 92.8 peak, this was up from 85.3 in November. The results suggest that consumers are beginning to see improvements in their personal financial situation, attributed to an upswing from Budget 2015 and more clarity on issues like water charges and the property tax. This figure sits alongside figures from the Central Statistics Office showing an increase in retail sales for the month of November. There was an increase in volume sales of 0.2% nationwide in the month before December’s Christmas period and 2014 saw an overall increase in spending of 6.2%.

Bord Bia will sponsor a seventh series of ‘Neven Maguire: Home Chef‘ on RTÉ, starting on 14 January at 7:30 pm. This season is set to feature locations ranging from Bunratty Castle to Google HQ in Dublin. Quick, family-friendly meals are on the menu, with all recipes featured taking only 30 minutes or less to prepare. Maguire commented, “All of the chefs featured on the new series highlight the importance of ensuring that the food they purchase carries the Bord Bia Quality Mark.” The first programme will feature a crispy goats cheese and apple and hazelnut salad, sea bass with Irish bacon, and pork meatballs with coriander and coconut, prepared at the Aviva Stadium.

Discount retailer Dealz has announced that sales of brown sauce are up 32% in its Irish stores. According to market research company Mintel, sales of brown sauce dropped by 19% in the UK, while Irish shoppers bought more of it in 2014 than previous years. As the retailer put it, the old question, ‘brown or red sauce?’ may finally be answered, as brown sauce proves more popular than ketchup across major Irish cities. Dublin tops purchases of the condiment, with Limerick and Cork right behind. “It’s no surprise to me that Brown Sauce still ranks high on Irish shopper’s grocery lists. It’s a household staple in many homes in Ireland and the UK and a delicious addition to many meals!” Dealz CEO Jim McCarthy commented.

Under new proposals from the Central Bank, lenders will have to give more information to small and medium sized businesses looking for credit. The bank has published a paper as part of an ongoing review of the Code of Conduct for Business Lending to SMEs, first introduced in 2009. Changes being looked at include requiring lenders to provide reasons for declining credit that are specific to the application refused. According to the Irish Times, the Central Bank has found that lenders normally use a standard letter providing limited information as to why the application was denied. Also, information provided verbally by lenders is sometimes not officially recorded. The Central Bank is proposing changing the code, so appeals provisions are expanded to include decisions on declining or withdrawing credit, as well as decisions regarding terms and conditions.

Global food prices have fallen, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index for December 2014. The Index cites large supplies, record stocks, a stronger US dollar and falling oil prices as contributing to the drop in prices. The December food price averaged 188.6 pts, down 1.7% from November. 2014 saw the third consecutive annual drop in prices, with a 3.7% decline from 2013 to 202 points. Cereals saw a drastic drop in price of 12.5%; a result of record production and strong inventories. Abundant export supplies meant the price of rice also markedly fell. Dairy prices declined by 2.3% to 174 points, the lowest since 2009. Milk powder, butter and cheese saw the biggest drop in price. Meat prices, however, are at an all time annual average high of 199 points, which is 8.1% higher than in 2013.

Most Irish workers feel undervalued and underpaid, according to a survey by employment law firm Peninsula Ireland. The results show that two thirds of Irish workers don’t feel that their pay is good enough, and that their employers under appreciate them. Furthermore, only 38% felt comfortable asking for a raise. Despite predictions that wages will rise in 2015, 83% of those surveyed don’t think they will see any pay rises this year. Alan Price, managing director of Peninsula Ireland, advises, “If you really think you deserve a pay-rise then ask, otherwise you will often wonder and be resentful when you see others paid a higher salary which is not good for your mental health and wellbeing.”

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson and Jenny Whelan. 

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