NDC launches new three year strategy

National Dairy Council chairman Jackie Cahill (left) and chief executive Zoë Kavanagh (right) with Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, marking the launch of the new NDC three year strategy, "Irish Dairy: Sustainable & Nutritious by Nature"
National Dairy Council chairman Jackie Cahill (left) and chief executive Zoë Kavanagh (right) with Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, marking the launch of the new NDC three year strategy, "Irish Dairy: Sustainable & Nutritious by Nature"

The National Dairy Council has launched a comprehensive three year plan to promote the quality and nutritional value of Irish dairy produce



28 January 2013

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The National Dairy Council (NDC) has launched a new three year strategy for 2013-2015, "Irish Dairy: Sustainable & Nutritious by Nature." 

The new NDC strategy sets out to protect and promote the image, quality, taste and nutritional credentials of Irish dairy produce to a wide variety of audiences.

"Our dairy sector is also poised for positive change. By 2015, the end of this three year strategic timeframe, a new era will have begun for dairy farming in Ireland, with the abolishment of milk quotas in 2015 and the work of Food Harvest 2020 bearing fruit," said NDC chairman Jackie Cahill.

Zoë Kavanagh, chief executive of The National Dairy Council, says that the work of the NDC will continue to be underpinned by evidence-based nutritional science and research, whilst delivering real value to Irish dairy farmers and stakeholders.

"Farmers and processors are justifiably proud of the nutritional values, sustainability and standards that we enjoy in Irish dairy products. These core attributes are the source of trust and confidence that consumers place in our dairy products. Building that appreciation is a key objective of our strategy," said Kavanagh. "The NDC intends to continue to build its reputation as the trusted voice of the industry and the experts in dairy nutrition as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle."

The new NDC strategy concentrates on four areas of priority, the first of which is ‘Irish dairy excellence’: Promoting quality, sustainability and the excellence of the dairy sector and dairy produce to a consumer audience, from farm to plate. This component of the strategy will also include initiatives such as the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards, which showcases to consumers the top quality dairy farmers behind Irish dairy produce. It includes plans to strengthen awareness about the NDC Guarantee on milk and cream which has been farmed and processed in the Republic of Ireland. Irish cheese and its nutritional benefits as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle will also form part of the NDC’s product marketing.

The second focus will be protecting and enhancing the status and reputation of the Irish dairy category with key audiences and stakeholders. The NDC says it has earned a reputation as the experts in dairy and is the first port of call for Irish consumers with questions, or sometimes misconceptions about dairy. The main focus is to ensure that the interests and any concerns of consumers are understood and addressed so that consumer confidence in dairy produce is maintained. Whilst the NDC web site is an important hub for consumer engagement, the more recent "Obey Your Body" Facebook page already has some 35,000 followers.

Thirdly, ‘Dairy nutrition and scientific expertise’ will involve maintaining and building the position of the NDC as experts in dairy nutrition and at the forefront of science. The NDC is a member of global and EU alliances including the International Dairy Federation, Global Dairy Platform and Utrecht Group. This, combined with engagement in dairy research, supports the work of the NDC nutrition team in providing evidence-based, scientifically-supported information to consumers and also to other stakeholders such as healthcare professionals. The expertise of the nutritional team also facilitates strategic industry discourse.

Finally the programme will include ‘Dairy education for schools: Improving attitudes to and relevance of dairy produce for school-going children and young people. The new dairy education programme for primary schools to be introduced in 2013 is underpinned by nutritional expertise. It aims to highlight to teachers as well as parents the need to educate children about the nutritional role of the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ group in children’s diets; whilst teaching children about dairy produce in an interactive and engaging way. Second level initiatives will focus on the benefits of dairy for 12-18 year olds and will see the continuation of the NDC Milk It Awards in secondary schools.

The nutritional and marketing expertise of the NDC has also proven successful in co-funded and collaborative initiatives. This approach will continue to complement the new strategy through programmes such as "Milk, A Force of Nature" – a co-funded pan-European campaign which will start in Spring 2013 with a total budget in Ireland over the three years of €814,208. It extends positive milk messages to encourage mothers to include milk as part of their family diet and at various life stages.

The NDC strategy for 2013-2015, "Irish Dairy: Sustainable & Nutritious by Nature," is available at www.ndc.ie.



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