They are the centrepiece of many food parcels sent abroad and now they’ve been named as the “most missed” food by Irish emigrants. Tayto crisps have topped the poll as the food item that the Irish around the world most long for, with 59 per cent of the 342 returned emigrants surveyed by Behaviour & Attitudes saying that they missed Tayto while overseas, while 38 per cent said they missed the brand “a lot”.
The survey, carried out on behalf of Checkout magazine, also found some other Irish favourites topping the most missed list. Cadbury chocolate was missed by 59 per cent of respondents, with 35 per cent missing it “a lot”, while Kerrygold butter was missed by 57 per cent.
When asked what foods they felt were of a superior quality in Ireland than abroad, stout and pre-packed bacon/rashers topped the poll, with 68 per cent saying that both were of a better quality at home. Meat, butter and milk were also found to be of a higher quality, with 66 per cent of respondents believing them to be of better quality, while pre-packed sausages (62 per cent) and tea (59 per cent) were also believed to be of a higher quality in Ireland than abroad.
Editor at Checkout magazine, Jenny Whelan, said, “Irish consumers are known to be brand loyal, and emigration doesn’t seem to change this. I have no doubt that in the run up to Christmas, plenty of the products featuring in our study will be making their way to loved ones across the globe, so that even those who can’t make it back for the festivities can get a little taste of home.”
Nostalgia and food tend to go together as was brought home to me some years ago at the Irish Club in Leeds. There was a shop full of “Irish Foods”, Wilwood Silvermints, Red Lemonade, Chef Sauce, Erin Soups not to mention parsley sauce without which a slice of bacon is totally naked. The same effect can be seen today in every Irish supermarket where there is a Polish section, which the natives are slowly but surely beginning to enjoy.
Despite the huge changes in Ireland’s food culture and here in West Cork being the centre of some wonderful artisan foods it appears the residual food memories are those from childhood. And for the many scattered to the four winds in the Irish Diaspora, these are the strongest memories.