‘Aldi commits to cooperating with beef taskforce’ – ICSA

Aldi has signaled its intent to cooperate with the forthcoming Beef Market Taskforce, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

In a statement, the ICSA said that it had held meetings with “senior representatives” from the supermarket chain, in which the commitment was given.

Edmond Phelan, the association’s president, said: “The ICSA welcomes this commitment from Aldi and we are calling on all other main retailers to also engage. We laid it out in very stark terms for Aldi that the future of beef farming in this country is on the line.

Beef farmers in Ireland cannot continue to supply beef to retailers at well below the cost of production. Supermarkets need to reflect on the key question of whether the current model is sustainable where farmers are expected to continue to lose money.

“The ICSA also outlined the results to Aldi of the professional survey which RED C conducted on behalf of the ICSA. The key finding was that only one in eight consumers attached any importance to beef from animals under 30 months and we have asked Aldi to reflect on the findings,” Phelan added.

Phelan says that the engagement with Aldi was “constructive”, and he expressed his hope that other supermarkets would follow suit.

“A business model that does not return a fair margin to anyone on the food chain cannot continue,” the ICSA president added.

In the not-too-distant future, if farmers in Ireland do not get a sustainable price, then supermarkets will end up depending on South American beef where traceability, quality assurance and other in-spec requirements will be ignored.

“This will be very hard to explain to consumers who have come to expect the standards delivered by Irish farmers. So, it is in the interests of all retailers to now face up to the need to find solutions so that Irish farmers can continue to produce sustainable, grass-fed, quality-assured beef and achieve economic viability,” Phelan added.