UK consumers concerned about Irish dairy after Brexit

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

The availability of Irish butter and cheese topped the list of UK consumers' post-Brexit concerns.
The availability of Irish butter and cheese topped the list of UK consumers' post-Brexit concerns.

Related tags: Brexit, Ireland, Bord bia, Cheese, Butter

A recent survey by the Irish food board, Bord Bia, has looked at how UK consumers view Irish products, and what they think about food after Brexit.

Bord Bia said the study reveals a strong positive sentiment from UK consumers towards Irish food and drink products, and a declining confidence in the availability of the food and drink post-Brexit.

The insight, carried out by Red C Research, which analyses the answers of a representative base of 1,000 UK consumers, over six periods throughout 2019, was compiled by Bord Bia’s Thinking House insight team.

The results show there has been a dip in consumer confidence around the continued availability of the Irish food they enjoy after Brexit, with the number of people confident of its availability falling from 60% in May 2019, to 55% in July, and 47% in September. Conversely, the number of people not confident has risen from 32% in May 2019 to 36% in July, before spiking to 47% in September.

Consumer confidence about the cost of food and drink has also dipped, with those feeling confident about the cost of food and drink post Brexit falling from 40% in May 2019, to 32% in September. Similarly, those not feeling confident about the cost of food and drink post Brexit has risen from 54% in May 2019, to 62% in September.

When asked about their level of concern for different aspects of the food and drink they currently buy, the results showed that cost was the primary driver for concern (64%); followed by availability (52%); variety (49%); and quality (46%).

However, consumers’ openness to choosing food and drink from Ireland has increased over recent months, rising from 86% in May 2019 to 89% in September.

When asked what food and drink items UK shoppers would miss most if there were to be a reduction in availability or spike in costs, dairy topped the list, with cheddar cheese (64%) and butter (62%) the main concerns.

Donal Denvir, Bord Bia’s general manager, Great Britain, said, “The UK and Ireland have a long-standing relationship with food and drink and the results of this latest round of research clearly show continued reason for positivity and optimism as we approach Brexit.

“While, the statistics reveal a distinctive trend towards a reduction in consumer confidence about the availability and affordability of food and drink post Brexit, it is positive to see that UK consumer perceptions of Irish food and drink, has seen a spike in positivity over recent months.”

Denvir said Bord Bia has been working closely with food and drink suppliers in Ireland to ensure they are as prepared as possible for the possible scenarios that might unfold.

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