Ciaran Fitzgerald: Low-cost or common meals – however not each

A current media article targeted on evaluating the costs of various manufacturers or forms of consuming milk on shopper pages. The primary conclusion that the one parameter of the valuation was the worth was not essentially the most steady, however the most cost-effective.

To be trustworthy, the one-dimensional shopper article and the wide-ranging discuss of “Irish agricultural manufacturing needs to be restricted” over the previous two years present that the mainstream media have no idea or take heed to the reality, the complexities. or the financial relevance of Irish agriculture.

Nevertheless, the publication that printed the buyer article doesn’t have an agricultural correspondent.

Lack of knowledge of the thought of ​​low cost meals

The dearth of this knowledgeable understanding meant:

  • The dialogue of consuming milk doesn’t point out the distinction between branded milk and grocery store “proprietary model” within the sense of a rise in “proprietary label” from 40% to 80% within the final 10 years;
  • Consumption of liquid milk by meals distributors / supermarkets / doesn’t point out the associated fee chief and its penalties for dairy producers;
  • The Irish Farmers Affiliation (IFA) has no reference to farmers’ considerations about utilizing “pretend” model names to promote merchandise that compete with their very own model.

All of those ideas, I believe, can be higher to tell the buyer about consuming milk or every other meals product. know Irish customers desire genuine meals produced extra sustainably.


At one stage, such a superficial worth comparability article is sudden and probably not necessary.

Then again, the meals trade and farmers have famous for the previous 10 years that the fixed pursuit of low day by day meals costs by anybody listening is just not economically or environmentally sustainable.

Agriculture additionally famous that the mixed buying energy and reductions (Aldi and Lidl) of the three largest retailers (Dunnes Shops, Tesco and SuperValu) now account for greater than 90% of Irish meals purchases.

Within the Nineties, this rising focus and potential for abuse of energy was restricted to meals orders, and on the time there was a debate over whether or not grocery store market share needs to be restricted to a most of, say, 15% of any particular person retailer.

Sadly, all this has taken place via limitless regulation / globalization, which has given us the extraordinary outcomes we’ve right this moment.

Official information from the Central Statistics Workplace (CSO) present that Irish meals costs fell by 10% between 2011 and 2021, whereas Irish inflation prices rose by a median of 8%. Thus, actual inflation was 18%.

Whatever the meals enterprise, no enterprise can go the place its merchandise are bought beneath manufacturing price.

Certainly, we all know that based on the legislation, our cellphones, laptops, prescription drugs, electrical energy and fuel, and newspapers are usually not bought beneath price.

Thus, in distinction to what we’ve heard for a few years, the meals sector is just not searching for particular remedy, however merely to set costs for a sustainable fashionable financial system.

Local weather

The agricultural sector, which nonetheless accounts for one in eight jobs within the Irish financial system, deserves a well-informed built-in strategy, not solely when it comes to costs, but in addition when it comes to explanations for local weather change and local weather change.

Certainly, local weather change and all its challenges require a radical dialogue of the that means of worth and worth, revenue and financial affect.

Over the past 20 years or extra, notably within the BSE and post-FMD, meals manufacturing prices in Eire and all through the EU have seen a gradual improve in regulatory prices, normally imposed on shopper security.

The EU Inexperienced Pact requires even better spending on sustainability / local weather measures, regardless of current noises surrounding meals safety.

It’s clear that the regular decline in meals costs is just not sustainable within the face of rising prices.

The “debate” over the sustainable way forward for meals manufacturing in Eire and the EU can’t merely be the outdated adage that “subsequent yr will likely be even cheaper.”

For the actual debate on the way forward for meals and agriculture to be significant and balanced, a very powerful public commentators should be absolutely knowledgeable.

We’re effectively conscious of the principle financial aim of our neighbors within the UK, which is sleeping with Brexit. We should not do the identical with meals and agriculture in Eire.