What are the consumers of Irish dairy products actually looking for?

Ornua plays a central role in the marketing and delivery of Irish dairy products to consumers throughout the world.

Currently doing business in 100 different countries – and Ireland’s largest exporter of primary dairy products – the group’s chief executive Kevin Lane said: “We live our life trying to interpret what the consumer is looking for.”

Speaking at yesterday’s Food Wise Conference 2017, Lane said: “We are trying to bring the information from those consumers back to try to interpret what it is they are looking for.

We’ve noticed – particularly over the last 12-18 months – that those consumers have become a lot more knowledgeable, inquisitive and they’re certainly getting a lot more real-time information.

On the three big trends that are driving Ornua’s business, he said: “Consumers are looking for authenticity, transparency – they want to understand what is in their food – and they’re also wanting and asking us to take more responsibility for their own health.”

He continued: “They want to make sure the foods they’re consuming tomorrow are ones that they can trust. That’s the important incentive for us and the industry to make sure that we are doing things in a more sustainable way.”

To rely the messages from consumers back to Ireland, Lane added that the stakeholders meet once a month. These include: dairy farmers; chief executives of the majority of processors; the Ornua chairman; and the group’s management team.

On that discussion, the whole area of sustainability and the environmental challenges that a growth industry is bound to face are discussed, debated and dealt with.

“There’s a great awareness and a great acceptance of the responsibility we have at all levels in the industry to address this.”