According to a newly released survey, the majority of Irish consumers believe they are personally responsible for creating a sustainable future, only four in ten people believe they are well-informed about sustainability.
The research was conducted as part of Sustainable Dairy in Europe, a three year campaign by the European Milk Forum funded by the EU to gain a better understanding of consumers’ perceptions of sustainability, climate change and the challenges they pose in relation to the dairy sector.
Over 2,000 consumers in Ireland were involved in the research as well as consumers in Belgium, Denmark, France and the Netherlands.
9 out of 10 Irish consumers believe that climate change is already happening or will occur in the near future. Most (71%) say they are worried about the changes that it will involve and have taken action or changed their behaviour in some way over the past year. However, while the majority of those who responded believe they are personally responsible for creating a sustainable future, only four in ten people believe they are well-informed about sustainability.
The research also reveals that a third (34.1%) of Irish consumers eat regionally produced products in an effort to be more climate conscious, and that 9 out of 10 (92.2%) believe Ireland is worthy of its world-renowned reputation for producing high-dairy products.
The research also provided an insight into the consumption of dairy products in Ireland. Milk continues to be the most popular product with 70% drinking it daily. Over half (51%) eat butter daily while three in ten (31%) eat cheese and a quarter eat fermented milk products such as yoghurts.
Zoe Kavanagh, Chief Executive of the National Dairy Council, said that Irish consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of how and where their food is produced and it is important that they have the information necessary to make informed choices.
Zoe Kavanagh said: “Sustainability and climate change are pressing challenges that need immediate action globally. The Irish and European dairy sector are working hard to be part of the solution. We have a strategic national plan to help Ireland’s agri-food industry and support Irish farmers to produce dairy products that are important in the daily diet in a more sustainable way, using new farming practices to reduce their impact on the environment.”