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Are You Ready To Join The Food Revolution?

Updated: Feb 19

According to latest figures, 80-85% off all fruit and veg in Ireland is imported (Bord Bia, 2023). Over the past few years, we've seen shortages of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more across supermarket shelves due to poor weather conditions caused by climate change and an energy crisis in Europe. And while many of these crops can be grown here at home, Ireland as a nation is choosing to opt for cheaper, lower quality imports over self sufficiency.


Our supermarkets stock their shelves with imported fruits and vegetables, sprayed with chemicals to kill pests and prolong their shelf life rather than pay the 60 field vegetable growers we have on our island a fair price for the food they grow. However with 68.5% of people saying they want more sustainably produced food, but only one third are willing to pay more for it, are the supermarkets the ones really at fault? (KPMG, 2022)


Perhaps the blame should be placed on the 280 restaurants and cafes who closed their doors towards the close of 2023? Surely they could have continued to try and weather the unbearable storms their businesses had been thrust into as a result of a cost of living crisis combined with the rising costs of running a business. Continued to sacrifice their mental health for the sake of our economy, continued to battle the impossible landscape that made their very existence as a business impossible? After all, it was they who claimed to champion the homegrown food growers and producers who make Ireland's food scene so rich and vibrant!


Their closures combined with the pressure to compete with lower priced, and lower quality products is, of course, going to have a knock on effect on Irelands food producers' ability to make their businesses financially viable. When you lay it all out, it's clear that there is a lot of work to be done if we are ever to consider ourselves a food secure nation! For the people who work so hard to keep our food system running to feel supported.


While it’s true that the food industry at large has played a huge role in contributing to the climate crisis, through our work at Conquer Digital, we have the privilege to experience first hand the respect that so many food and drink businesses in Ireland have for the food they grow, prepare and serve. How that food impacts the people, community and environment around them. These food and drink business leaders are the reason we at Conquer Digital believe those who are making the conscious effort to preserve and protect the integrity of the food industry deserve support.


Collectively we need to start sharing more stories which encourage the public to opt for sustainably grown, locally produced products & ingredients, and hopefully lead a move away towards a more circular food system. We need to teach those living in Ireland that supporting homegrown food and drink businesses ensures future access to high-quality and nutritious food, an influx of finance in the pockets of those who work hard to keep the wheels of this industry turning, so that high quality food production methods become more maintainable.


There is a huge opportunity for small responses to kick off a huge cyclical impact in combating the climate crisis and improving our food systems for the better. For instance, encouraging suppliers and consumers to opt for sustainably grown and organic products & ingredients can lead a move away from the nutrient-poor ones which are negatively impacting our ecosystem. Building values into business models that keep food affordable ensures people have access to high-quality and nutritious food, regardless of their financial status.


The benefit of a collective commitment to using higher quality ingredients would lead to an increase in demand, which puts more money into the pockets of those who employ sustainable production methods. An influx of finance flowing towards these businesses makes these high quality food production methods maintainable. And the stories we tell about our food in Ireland are what will set the stage for all of that change.


This is why at Conquer Digital, we're trying to be proactive in bridging the clear education gap that exists around supporting our homegrown growers, producers, chefs and other food experience creators. It's why we are using our creative communication skills to work towards a climate smart food system for everyone. And to support our clients to become advocates for change because it is their stories from the frontline of working in the food industry that have the power to inspire change!


For those of us that care about safeguarding the industry we love, we need to work together. We cannot take our food security for granted, and from a business standpoint, we can't afford not to be proactive in calling for improvements to this industry. So, if you're ready to join the food revolution, here is a list of organisations and resources for you to check out for support, guidance and that all important inspiration!



If you know of additional organisations we can add to this list, drop a line to ciara@conquerdigital.ie.




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