Food for Thought

Where Does Your Food Come From

Do you regularly search for the source of your food? I find it very interesting and I am intrigued by the fact that we are so trusting when it comes to what we eat. What really lies within the packaging, what process has it undergone and where is it’s source? These are easy questions but truthfully, we have to ask ourselves, are they easy for us to answer? Food is universal and ultimately we all need it to survive. But do we really understand it’s importance and do we respect where it has come from.

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                            pic: Field of Barley, North Cork 

Barley one of the oldest consumed grains in the world and is predominately used in breads, soups, stews, and health products.

Food Consumption Trends in Ireland

A combination of both global and local factors are both responsible for shaping the changing food consumption patterns here in Ireland. Irish shopping baskets now contain a staggering 45.9% of ultra processed foods, making it the third highest consumer after Britain and Germany (Cleary, 2018). However I do question if these food choices inevitably come at a long-term cost?

Another scary food consumption pattern which has emerged here in Ireland is the increased spend on ready made meals. The ready meals sector has risen from to €67 million in 2000 to €112.4 million in 2005 (bordbia.ie). According to the Euromonitor (2017), ready meals will approach sales of €304 million by 2022! This food consumption trend highlights the importance placed on convenience buying by busy consumers.

The Irish food and drink market is set to increase by almost 40% and be worth more than €15 billion by 2020 (Bord Bia, 2006). So it will be interesting to see what the food consumption footprint for this spend will look like. Cooking at home and family meal time is underestimated and this is reflected in the Irish food spending patterns. Our understanding and the value that we place on what we eat seems to be overlooked on a daily basis and the consumption trends forecasted by various sources support reflect this observation.

The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel revealed that organic grocery sales in Ireland are gradually increasing, the total value of Irish organic grocery sales increased by 23.7% in 2016 to €142 million (Bord Bia 2016). This shows a slow but gradual shift toward better food choices. Thankfully we are slowly moving away from the disposable grab and go, non sustainable food consumption options. I really hope that this means we have a better understand of the long term benefits in choosing good quality fresh, local ingredients.

I believe in keeping our food choices simple and really understanding the food that we eat. It is very easy to get absorbed into the grab and go culture but it’s more enjoyable and fulfilling to dig deeper to understand what we are eating and to also respect to where it has come from.

Always Remember…

Shop for fresh local produce

Respect your ingredients

Keep the preparation simple

Try new flavours

Enjoy your food!

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                                                    pic: Homemade Lamb Chop Stew

I made this lamb chop stew with vegetables from the Killavullen farmers market, Kallo organic beef stock cubes and lamb chops from Hanley’s Butchers in Mitchelstown, Co.Cork, where rear their own livestock.

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References

Bordbia.ie “Shaping the future of the Irish food and drink market towards 2020”.

Bord Bia (2006) “Irish food and drink market set to expand”.

Bord Bia (2016) “National Organic Awards 2016”.

Cleary, C. (2018) “Almost half of food in Irish shopping baskets is ultra-processed”, The Irish Times.

Euromonitor (2017) “Ready Meals in Ireland”.

 

 

 

 

 

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