More then ever Irish consumers want to support Irish business and that means buying Irish produced food.
But at the same time more of us are buying own brand in order to save money.
So when buying food, how do you reconcile the two desires, to save money yet buy Irish.
In fact many Irish producers have been working with the supermarkets from low cost Aldi and Lidl to Marks & Spencer and SuperValu to produce own brand products. Tina Leonard has the inside story for Pat Kenny.
How you know if the own brand product is Irish
1. You won’t see the ‘Love Irish Food’ or ‘Guaranteed Irish’ symbols but check for the Bord Bia and National Dairy Council marks.
2. Some supermarkets have their own symbols for Irish products, such as a shamrock or Irish flag
3. The packaging may also have the country of origin named (although sometimes this mean the product is put together here, but sourced elsewhere).
4. Supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi tend to use Ireland to mean the ‘island of Ireland’ so bear that in mind.
5. To find out where the last production area was for meat and dairy products check the packaging for an EU approval number that identifies the final processing plant i.e. not origin necessarily but the final stage of processing. It will consist of IE or UK for Ireland or the UK, then a number and then EC.
Why country of origin isn’t always indicated
The reason why country of origin isn’t always indicated is because, very simply, it doesn’t have to be.
Under EU food labelling law foods that must include country of origin are: raw beef and veal; raw poultry meat from a third country; fruit and veg; honey.
Labels on those products must follow certain rules i.e. beef has to be born, raised and slaughtered in the country named and fruit and veg has to be grown in the country.
It is not compulsory for supermarkets to carry a country of origin on any other produce unless its absence would mislead the consumer. So for example, a product with an Irish place-name, if not actually made in Ireland would have to include the country of origin so that consumers do not wrongly assume it is made in Ireland.
When ‘product of Ireland’ doesn’t mean Irish
For meat-based ready m eals, the situation with regard to origin is far from clear for the consumer. For example, in a chicken ready meal the chicken may not be Irish but it is okay to say ‘product of Ireland’, if the production / ‘substantive transformation’ took place here.
And for many products, the packaging might simply indicate that the product was made especially for the particular supermarket and no more. However, given the current trend of promoting Irish produce to customers you can safely assume that if the own brand product isn’t proudly labeled as being Irish then it is now.
So the products may be Irish but who makes them?
Even if you discover that the own brand product is Irish, you still may want to know who the producer is and that could be a little more difficult.
The fact is that sometimes the producer doesn’t want you to know (to protect their own brand i.e. Odlums, Johnston, Mooney & O Brien), whereas in other instances they may be happy to be associated with the product and their name may be on the package i.e. The Scullery, or used in promotion i.e. farmers and fishermen. Even so, in many cases you just won’t know.
Some own brand traditional products
Lir chocolates is a Co Meath company you’re bound to know from their own branded products. But did you know that they make Lidl’s Deluxe Irish Chocolate Selection? And they also make Marks & Spencer’s chocolate supplying both to Irish and UK stores. For M&S Lir make the Amazing assortment of personalities Christmas tree, Amazing assortment of personalities chocolate domes, Italian style dessert chocolate bar and the M&S Collection Marc de Champagne truffles.
Irish producers making for several supermarkets
Seerys Bakery in Carlow – making cakes for for Aldi and Tesco
Grove Farm, Monaghan – supplying turkeys to Lidl, Tesco, Dunnes and Superquinn
Carty Meats, Westmeath – to Supervalu and Superquinn
Traditional Cheese Company – supplying cheeses to Aldi, Dunnes Stores, SuperValu and Superquinn.
Who makes supermarkets own brands?
Many supermarkets are focusing on their relationships with Irish producers and making that a selling point to shop at their store.
Over 50% of grocery sales generated by Irish products.
Aldi partners with over 125 Irish suppliers, producers and manufacturers.
All the Nature’s Isle fresh poultry, beef, pork and lamb is sourced exclusively from Republic of Ireland farms certified under the Bord Bia scheme.
Nature’s Isle Ham Fillet, Specially Selected Cured or Smoked Irish Rashers – Callan Bacon, Co Kilkenny
Specially Selected Irish organic Smoked Salmon – William Carr & Sons,Mayo
Specially Selected Brie and Camembert – Traditional Cheese Company, Dublin.
47 % of all grocery sales in Lidl stores are generated from products sourced from Irish suppliers, producers and manufacturers.
More than 100 suppliers; approximately 80 in the Republic of Ireland with more than 25 in Northern Ireland.
Lidl’s fresh beef, pork, lamb and chicken is 100% Bord Bia quality assured.
Fresh duck – Silver Hill Foods, Co Monaghan
Ham, Glensallagh and Deluxe rashers – Oakpark in Co Tipperary
Salmon, mackerel, cod fillets – Keohane Seafoods in West Cork
Deluxe tomato relish; The Scullery, Co Tipperary
Bridge Bakery cakes – Comerford Brothers, Co Kildare.
Consists of locally owned franchises
Works with 104 Irish suppliers worth in excess of €80million.
Streaky rashers – Carty Meaths, Athlone;
Cocktail sausage range – Mallons, Co Monaghan;
Smoked salmon range and pate & Salmon and spinach encroute – Dunns, Dublin
SuperValu Crab Claws, Crab Meat & Crab and Prawn pack & flavoured prawns, Shellfish de la Mer, Cork
SV Supreme Chocolate Dessert Shots Selection and SV Supreme Fruit Dessert Shots Selection, Couverture, Dublin
SuperValu Supreme Carvery Rib Roast, Kepak, Cork
SuperValu Cheese Selections and SV Supreme Selections, Traditional Cheese Company, Dublin
SuperValu Butcher Style Sausages with pork & chestnut, Mallons in Monaghan
SuperValu Eye Loin of Bacon with Clove & Brown Sugar Glaze, Carty Meats, Athlone
Over 100 Irish companies produce approximately 2,000 products for Tesco own brand.
Tesco works with 400 Irish suppliers, 300 of which employ fewer than five people.
Irish full hams and a new range of Christmas meals made easy – Hilton meats, Co Louth
Range of cooked hams – O Brien Fine Foods in Kildare
Irish cranberries – Slieve Bloom in Offaly
Irish Porter Glazed Hams, Carroll’s Cuisine, Co Offaly
Cranberry and mulled wine stuffed turkey, Green Farm Foods, Westmeath
Range of turkeys and hams are 100% Irish and Bord Bia approved.
Over 75% of grocery own label products are sourced from Irish producers and suppliers.
Range of hams – Carty Meats, Westmeath
All seafood including SQ Salmon topped with an orange cranberry and Christmas spices and our Superquinn Salmon Rosettes stuffed with a festive stuffing - Oceanpath in Howth
Various deserts including SQ Belgian Chocolate Bombe, SQ Raspberry Panna cotta and Superwuinn Christmas chocolate yule log – Fuscos in Dublin.
SQ luxury pudding in ceramic bowl, SQ luxury micemeat and SQ luxury mince pies, Foods of Athenry, Co Galway
Speciality Cheeses – Traditional Cheese Company, Dublin
Hams, Callan in Co Kilkenny and Oakpark in Co Tipperary
Mice pies – Thornhaven, Dublin
Cake – Staffords Bakery, Wexford and O’Haras in Foxford, Co Mayo
Salmon – William Carr & Sons, Co Mayo, Nolans Seafood in Dublin
Vegetables – Leo Dunne and Joe Finnegan
Cheese Selection – The Traditional Cheese Company, Dublin
Christmas Puddings – Heatherfield, Co Carlow
Deserts – Prestige Foods in Co Kerry and Heatherfield, Co Carlow
Relish – Follain, Co Cork
Cranberry Sauce and ham glaze – Lakeshore (Boyne Valley Group)
Seasonal cream – Connaught Gold
Marks & Spencer
Smoked Irish Salmon – Dunns in Dublin
Selection of artisan cheeses – Horgans in Co Cork
Amazing assortment of personalities Christmas tree, Amazing assortment of personalities chocolate domes, Italian style dessert chocolate bar, M&S
Collection Marc de Champagne truffles – Lir chocolates, Co Meath
Classic Butter-basted turkey breast joint – Moy Park, Northern Irelan
Special reserve sirloin joint, Crown of lamb with winter fruits, rose veal boneless sirloin, Forerib of beef with horseradish butter – Linden foods, Northern Ireland
Pack of four hand crafted mince pies, Genesis, NI