Consultative Council Meeting Minutes - 3 February 2010

Meeting of the Food Safety Consultative Council
Date & Venue: 3 February 2010 at the Radisson Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8 at 10:00.

Members Present

Ms Veronica Campbell (Chair)
Ms Anne Marie Crowley
Mr Dermott Jewell
Dr J Gerard Barry
Ms Anne Quirke
Mr Muiris Kennedy
Mr Tim O’Brien
Mr Martin Mullane
Ms Margaret Leahy
Ms Marie Brady
Mr Henry O’Neill
Ms Breda Raggett
Dr Fred Davidson
Mr Eoin McBennett
Mr Kevin Bracken

Apologies for Absence

Ms Darina Allen
Mr Peter Marshall
Mr Eddie Byrne
Ms Fiona Lalor
Ms Sara Morris
Mr Bill Paterson

In Attendance

Mr Raymond Ellard - FSAI
Ms Eileen Lippert – FSAI
Mr Matt Cooper – Today FM
Mr Alo Mohan – IFA
Mr Raymond O’Rourke – Solicitor
Margaret Jeffares – Good Food Ireland
Mr Jim Power – Love Irish Food
Mr Ray Bowe – Musgraves
Mr Paul Kelly - IBEC

Introduction

Ray Ellard addressed the audience explaining the structure of the FSAI and he also dealt with all the housekeeping issues. He also introduced the Chair of the FSCC to the audience who proceeded to thank everyone for attending today.

Minutes and Matters Arising

The minutes of the previous meeting of the FSCC were agreed subject to some amendments. There were no matters arising for discussion at this meeting.

Irish food – the economic imperative – Jim Power, Love Irish Food

Matt Cooper introduced Jim Power to all present and Jim proceeded to give a presentation which included the following points:

  • Irish economic realities
  • facts and figures pertain to the agri-food sector
  • food and beverage production (volumes)
  • Irish food and drink exports and percentage changes
  • issues for the primary sector
  • issues for the manufacturing sector
  • effect of the sterling v euro exchange rate
  • pressure on consumers
  • price trends
  • reasons for forming Love Irish Food
  • conclusions

Irish food – provenance, quality, origin and the law – Raymond O’Rourke, food and consumer lawyer

Raymond O’Rourke was introduced to the attending crowd and he gave a presentation which included the following points:

  • Consumers in Rep. of Ireland place more emphasis on label information than consumers in N. Ireland and Great Britain
  • Quality symbols have grown in relevance
  • Country of origin has become more important
  • Shoppers are not just claiming an interest in local – they are increasingly buying local
  • Local produce is perceived to be of higher quality, safer and healthier
  • Origin labelling covered the mandatory labelling of beef
  • Legislation in relation to organic food
  • Provenance – PDO and PGI and food items relevant
  • Traditional speciality guaranteed TSG
  • Distribution of PDOs and PGIs and TSGs by member states
  • Irish PDOs and PGIs
  • Schemes in Hungary
  • Quality schemes throughout Europe
  • Review of EU hygiene package
  • Country markets.

Positioning Ireland’s food as a potential driver for the visitor – Margaret Jeffares, Good Food Ireland

The penultimate speaker was the founder and managing director of Good Food Ireland, Mrs Margaret Jeffares. Her presentation covered:

  • The concept of Good Food Ireland
  • The primary objectives
  • Background to Good Food Ireland strategy
  • Information about the members
  • Perceptions of Irish food abroad
  • Consumer trends
  • The key drivers for setting up Good Food Ireland
  • Some tourism facts and figures
  • Why Irish food should be promoted to visitors
  • Good Food Ireland works in partnership with Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland
  • Marketing literature – 500,000 touring maps printed and distributed
  • On-line marketing
  • Involvement with Volvo Ocean Race
  • Details of google analystics US promotions in 2008
  • South Africa is a growing market
  • The Good Food Ireland brand promise
  • The economic benefits of marketing Irish food

Who makes Ireland’s food Irish? – Dermott Jewell, Consumer Association of Ireland

Dermott Jewell rounded off the presentations and the main points of his talk included:

  • Consumer worries, concerns and demands
  • Expectations and realities
  • Marketing tools used to promote food
  • Changes in direction and focus – more ethical economics, patriotic purchasers and guaranteed Irish
  • Examples of misleading labelling
  • How consumers think they are buying Irish, but in actual fact they are not
  • Innovation v change v reality

Panel Debate – Should Irish food be Irish?

The panel members were introduced to the audience. Taking part in the debate were:

  • Matt Cooper – Chair
  • Jim Power – Love Irish Food
  • Raymond O’Rourke – Food and consumer lawyer
  • Margaret Jeffares – Good Food Ireland
  • Dermott Jewell – Consumer Association of Ireland
  • Ray Bowe – Musgraves Retail Partners
  • Alo Mohan – Irish Farmers’ Association
  • Paul Kelly – IBEC

The format of the debate was explained and after the panel debated the various questions, the audience would be asked to vote on the issues discussed.

The members debated the following questions:
1. Do you know what makes food Irish? Following the vote 49% of the audience agreed that they knew what made food Irish.
2. I prefer to buy Irish food more than food from another country. A huge 79% agreed with the sentiment.
3. I’m prepared to pay more for Irish food. 43% agreed with the statement.
4. How much attention do you pay to food labels when you are shopping? 60% admitted that they pay a lot of attention to food labels.
5. I want to buy Irish food but I find the labelling confusing. 84% agreed with the statement.
6. Should all products have country of origin labelling? The majority of 88% agreed with this sentiment.
7. Which of these do you think is more important to the consumer – country of origin or price? Price scored 82% of the vote.
8. Have recent campaigns encouraged you to buy Irish food? This was more split with 48% saying yes and 45% saying no.
9. Do you think Irish food has a good reputation abroad? About 65% of the audience agreed with this.

This concluded the debated and Matt Cooper thanked everyone for participating in the spirited debate. The chair of the FSCC also thanked everyone for their contribution and for attending the meeting.

Last reviewed: 16/9/2010

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