CEO of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy, claimed that British consumers view Irish products as ‘locally sourced’, particularly when it comes to beef, rather than imported goods.
Speaking to Marian Finucane on RTÉ, McCarthy said that British people trust their own supply chain, which they say Ireland is a key part of.
“Our research in that market will tell you that normally, British consumers view [Irish produce] as local, as shopping local. They see it as a local product,” she said.
She added that this would make Brexit all the more important, as it may force British consumers to turn away from Irish products to other goods sourced from other parts of the world which lack the same standards and quality control.
“In the UK, British consumers trust their supply chain, and if you go into the leading supermarkets, or the McDonald’s, you will see 'British and Irish beef'. That’s how it's labelled to British consumers, ‘We source British and Irish beef,” she added.
“Can you imagine that if you trust where you purchase your product from today, you trust the safety, the quality assurance, the traceability, the EU regulations, every part of that welfare that the British are very exercised about, and you switch that overnight to a product that doesn’t have those standards, then you’d want to be a brave retailer to undermine that trust in your supply chain,” she said.
“Britain has that reputation of being a source of cheap food, but when you look in British supermarkets at the moment, the beef that you can buy, and they choose to buy, is labelled British and Irish, and they’re not the cheapest foods in the world, but they’ve chosen to date, because of the supply chain, British and Irish.”
She added that Bord Bia has been meeting with those retailers and food service operators to assure them that Ireland is prepared and producing the beef their customers want, as well as dairy and other product categories.
She highlighted the correlation between a retailer’s market share and the confidence of the consumer in the supply chain of that retailer.
“Confidence in your supply chain is a key determinant in where you shop,” she concluded.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.