The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has held its ground on criticisms of Aldi and Lidl, following rebukes from the retailers.

Following a statement from Aldi Ireland’s group buying director John Curtin to AgriLand, the IFA have now retorted that this statement was “misleading”.

The issue revolves around an IFA advertisement that appeared in national media yesterday which asserted that Lidl and Aldi were selling milk under brand names that appeared to refer to ‘creameries’ and ‘dairies’ that do not in fact exist.

The association particularly cited the brand names ‘Coolree Creamery’ in the case of Lidl, and ‘Clonbawn Irish Dairy’, in the case of Aldi. The IFA further claimed that these names “convinced consumers they were buying local”.

Lidl responded to this claim by saying it was “possibly defamatory” and that its legal team was examining the ad, while Aldi Ireland group buying director John Curtin said that “100% of Aldi’s Clonbawn branded milk and cream is sourced from Republic of Ireland farms”.

Now, in the latest development, the IFA has responded to these comments from Aldi, noting that the retailer’s statement refers to its milk brand as “Clonbawn”.

“This is misleading as the brand they use on their milk is actually ‘Clonbawn Irish Dairy’. There is no such dairy,” IFA president Tim Cullinan said.

The Aldi statement went on to list the processors that the retailer works with. In response to this, Cullinan said: “Why can’t Aldi simply put these dairies on the front of their cartons, rather than the fictitious ‘Clonbawn Irish Dairy’”.

Cullinan then reiterated the claim from yesterday that: “This is part of an ongoing and deliberate branding strategy to undermine farmer-owned brands and drive down the price paid to producers. [Aldi] are deliberately trying to mislead consumers with this local-sounding dairy.

“While other retailers have their own brands, they are not using fictitious farms, dairies and creameries,” the IFA president remarked.