Real artisan food lost in sea of ‘artisan’ style brands
Industry leaders come together to examine realistic routes to a viable future for artisans at Taste Council Summer School
26 August 2014 | 0
The fourth annual Food Summer School, led by the Taste Council of Ireland in association with Bord Bia, took place today (Tuesday, 26 August) in Brooklodge Hotel, Co Wicklow. The day-long symposium, entitled ‘The Future is Food,’ brought together key stakeholders from the Irish artisan and mainstream food industry, media and academic institutions, to discuss the issues concerning the sector, and its contribution to local and national economy and social fabric.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes opened the event. Speaking about the artisan symposium he commented: “Food is part of what Ireland does best, globally and locally. The value of Irish food and drink exports to 170 countries worldwide reached €9.9 billion in 2013, well on track for the Food Harvest 2020 goal of €12 billion. Locally, agri-food enterprises are intrinsic to the economy of each region and to the livelihood of 140,000 farms and fishery operations. The Taste Council Summer School is a great place for food artisans to discuss, reflect and act on the Future of Food.”
Foremost among the issues facing artisans and specialty food producers is the challenge of differentiating themselves when traditional language and imagery of the artisan has been absorbed by the mainstream. “Farmers’ faces, country cottages and terms like ‘artisan,’ ‘homemade’ and ‘farmhouse’ are now commonplace on the labels and promotional materials of industrially made food; the customer’s desire to connect with real people and real food is being exploited by the marketing departments of multinationals. The genuine artisan producer needs to find new ways to stand out and demonstrate their authenticity,” said Taste Council chairman, Kevin Sheridan of Sheridan’s Cheesemongers.