Conference gives food for thought

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) has held a conference with Northern Irish home economic teachers to address the credit crunch and children's eating habits.

Over 120 teachers attended the conference in Belfast to hear professionals from the fields of consumer research, marketing and agriculture.

Speakers looked at the impact of the current economic climate on the food industry, NI consumer perceptions towards food and the implications for messages in the classroom.

LMC marketing director Naomi Waite: "With some thought and planning it is possible to eat well within a limited budget. We can eat seasonal products, different cuts of meat and try to avoid wasting food as much as possible. Not all food is produced to the same high standards as in NI, so teaching students about traceability, assurance schemes and food labelling is also vital."

Speaking at the conference included representatives from the Food Standards Agency, the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association and the Ulster Farmers' Union.

Waite added: "Home Economics is now compulsory in Northern Ireland schools for boys as well as girls and we believe that addressing this issue with those that are educating our children is a good start to ensuring consumers make sensible and informed food choices even in difficult financial times."