'Health and nutrition' driving Irish food purchases?
factor affecting their food purchase decisions ahead of price,
according to research published today.
The findings, reported at the Irish Food Agency (Bord Bia)'s Food & Drink Industry Day are in marked contrast to their Northern Ireland and British counterparts.
Price was found to be the most important factor influencing Northern Ireland consumers (41 per cent) while health and nutrition (37 per cent) was the most influential reason in the Republic.
But the research went on to show that over two-fifths of respondents in any region rarely or never read nutritional information on a product.
While costs rank as an important factor for most respondents, over a quarter of respondents in each region (from 27 per cent in Great Britain to 33 per cent in the Republic) "rarely or never" know the price of a product before purchasing it some 62 per cent of ROI respondents do not check unit pricing, compared to 65 per cent of NI respondents and 51 per cent of GB respondents.
The report forms part of this year's Food & Drink Industry Day, which Bord Bia claims has attracted over 150 Irish food companies. The event also provides the opportunity for some 230 one-on-one meetings with Bord Bia's overseas market specialists.
Indeed the main purpose of the event, say the organisers, is to bring together the leading practitioners in the Irish food and drink industry to discuss market place trends from both a trade and consumer perspective.
The keynote speaker is Richard Brasher, commercial and trading director of Tesco UK. He will address the delegates on Tescos strategy in UK and overseas markets and will also explain Tescos supplier requirements highlighting the steps that Irish food and drink companies must take if they wish to become Tesco suppliers.
Tesco UK already buys €430m worth of food and drink from Irish suppliers.
Minister for agriculture Mary Coughlan plans to stress to delegates the importance of producers keeping abreast of the latest marketplace trends, while Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter will outline the range of activities planned by Bord Bia for the coming year.
In the six years since it was first established the Food & Drink Industry Day has become one of the leading events in the industrys calendar," said Cotter.
"We in Bord Bia are committed to maximising the opportunities available to innovative Irish food and drink companies to expand their businesses both at home and abroad. Events such as this which explore market opportunities and the drivers of growth while allowing companies to network with buyers and each other play a vital role in developing sales and exports of Irish Food and Drink."
The agri-food sector is Irelands most important indigenous industry with exports of €7.3bn in 2005. The sector contributes nine per cent to Ireland's GDP and eight per cent of employment, according to Bord Bia.