Cáis, the Association of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers, has launched a new campaign to encourage people to buy Irish farmhouse cheese online as the COVID 19 lockdown bites hard into revenues.
A member survey carried out by the association highlighted fears for significant job losses and an estimated 75% drop in sales as a result of the closure of foodservice outlets and farmers markets which accounted for the majority of sales in 2019.
To mitigate the loss of foodservice sales and to further support the industry, Cáis has launched a Buy Irish Farmhouse Cheese Online campaign to encourage consumers to purchase Irish farmhouse cheese directly from suppliers. The growing list of stockists can be accessed on www.irishcheese.ie to allow consumers to buy Irish Farmhouse Cheese and have it delivered directly to their homes.
The association is also appealing to the retail sector to continue to stock its product.
Cáis also expressed concern about finding a home for excess milk produced, on their own farms and as well as speciality milk from sheep, goat and buffalo. The association acknowledged that it was incredibly grateful for the support received by retailers to date but that continued support was required to keep the industry operational.
Louis Grubb, Chairperson of Cáis and founder of Cashel Farmhouse Cheese, said: “We are devastated at how the COVID 19 public health emergency has impacted on the foodservice business and the economy in Ireland. Members of our association are typically very small, independent producers with few resources behind them. They are however very significant to the fabric of rural Ireland and to the food image of our country.
“It is important that when this crisis has stabilised, and we return to a new normality, that we still have speciality cheesemakers in Ireland. The only way we can ensure the viability of our sector is by doing everything we can to encourage Irish retailers to stock, and promote, our products at this time. We are very grateful for the support received to date on this matter.”
Cáis was founded in 1983 to foster the growth of natural handmade cheese production in Ireland, and currently represents 68 Irish farmhouse cheesemakers.