Question to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine:

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the strategy employed to increase the availability of Irish food and products in supermarkets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer, TD.

For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 20th December, 2012.

Ref No:   57450/12

REPLY

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: (Simon Coveney)

Under the terms of our EU membership, goods and services move freely within the Single Market which benefits a food exporting country such as Ireland which recorded a 25% increase in food and drink exports in the past two years to reach €8.8 billion in 2011.

Member States may not use public funds to promote sales of products based on origin. Quality assurance schemes may, however, show origin in a secondary capacity. That is the case for the Bord Bia beef, lamb, pigmeat, poultry and horticulture quality assurance schemes, which enjoy a high degree of consumer awareness and recognition and are very visible on supermarket shelves.

I am pleased to see supermarkets increasingly publicise the value of the Irish food and drink products that they purchase and details of new contracts concluded with small suppliers. Such publicity is particularly useful for own brand products where information on origin may be quite limited.  EU requirements on origin labelling are limited. They do cover raw beef and veal; raw poultry meat from a third country; fruit and vegetables, and honey but origin is not required for other foods unless its absence would mislead the consumer.

Bord Bia works with producers directly and through major marketing events such as Marketplace Ireland 2012 to advise food and drink businesses on routes to market including supermarkets and on how to identify and build on business opportunities in a very competitive trading environment.