Thursday, May 27, 2010

How my Bewley's Explore Java Coffee has "Love Irish Food" Sticker

I purchased the Bewley's Explore Java coffee purely because it was the strongest one of the two the local shop had -- both variations of Bewley's coffee. I laughed when I saw the 'Love Irish Food' sticker as I know it's because the product is processed in Ireland so it can use the sticker, but the irony of it is just too funny and points out what many people don't realise. So much of what is called an Irish product is only so because it was processed here -- like processed fish and other meats where the actual meat comes from another country but the product is processed here and gets to be 'Irish'.

From the Love Irish Food website,
"The vision of Love Irish Food is to help you make informed choices about buying Irish manufactured food and drinks. Our overall aim is to safeguard the future of food and drink manufacturing in Ireland."


Love Irish Food Membership Criteria

What is an Irish Brand?

Made in Ireland using local ingredients where available...

Asking what is an Irish Brand is like asking what makes someone Irish, there are legal criteria and there are personal criteria. When making shopping choices, it's personal criteria that count.

It's nice to know when a product is Irish or not - especially for those that really want to support Irish businesses, but I think for many the point is to support local growers and smaller producers and not the bigger companies, Irish or not. So like with eggs, perhaps there should be a bit more information about 'how Irish' the product is. Are the ingredients', or at least main ingredients', origins in Ireland? If not, what is the Irish connection.

There is a debate as to whether this is honourable nationalism, good businesses -- or maybe bad business -- or outright exclusionism.

Does Fyffes put such stickers on the bananas? Like coffee, it's pretty obvious that they don't originate in Ireland -- and we have no choice but to purchase bananas that originate outside this country. I do think it's interesting that many of the bananas eaten in the world come via Ireland, because Fyffes is one the world's largest exporters of bananas. They important them into Ireland and export around the world. Click to see an interesting article on the banana trade and Fyffes involvement with the local unions. Love this article on Wiki Answers that states: "Believe it or not Ireland is the bigest exporter of bananas in the world. "

Explore Java may merit the 'Love Irish Food' sticker technically, but perhaps it is not the best product to use this sticker on because it's so obviously not Irish apart from the Bewley name!


  1. Hi Ann,

    We’d like to thank you very much for buying our coffee, we do appreciate it.

    While we would not contradict the technical point of your comments below, it’s important for us to mention that Bewley’s is most definitely a wholly Irish owned company with coffee roasting and tea blending operations in Ireland.

    Since 1840, Bewley’s has sourced raw coffee beans direct from coffee growing regions where we know the farms involved, we ship the beans into Ireland and we carefully roast them, package, market and distribute them from Dublin. The long term expertise, knowledge and employment in this process is distinctly Irish.

    If we could grow coffee in Ireland we probably would, but the next best thing is to offer a product that has as much Irish input as possible. We think that the Love Irish Food label signals this Irishness to potential consumers and that it is worthwhile to everyone for that in itself, although clearly, as you say some of the raw produce using this title would originate abroad, if only due to climate and growing location.
    All the best from Bewley’s

  2. Thank you for your comment Bewley's. We do love Bewley's coffee and I appreciate your swift response. It's very much like the situation with bananas - not everything can originate in Ireland, and Bewley's, like Fyffes, is a good example of an Irish company doing business across the world. I do hope you understand the irony of the packaging though.

  3. Re: Bewleys comment above....what next, American Guinness?! The USA don't import Guinness, add water and then say its American do they!?

  4. The whole area of labelling has become a little ridiculous and whilst I understand where Bewley's is coming from, calling the coffee "Irish" just isn't accurate, since 100% of the end _product_ comes from another country.

    If they put "Roasted in Ireland", everyone would be happy. In fact they'd probably be more likely to buy since they wouldn't be tutting in disapproval at the labelling.

    A far worse example is "Irish Smoked Salmon" which could be from Chile. The only way to know it is Irish Salmon, smoked in Ireland is if it says "Irish Smoked Irish Salmon".

    Then we get into the minefield of Bord Bia labelling on foreign produce due to EU rules. Don't get me started on that.