Grocery spend on Irish brands has increased by 25% during the lockdown, according to new data released by Nielsen.
It finds that shoppers are spending an additional €35 million on local products compared to the same period in 2019.
The data also shows that alcohol is the fastest growing overall category.
With pubs, bars and restaurants remaining closed, the report reveals that alcohol sales increased by over 66% in the four weeks ending 17th of May 2020, reaching €140 million.
That equates to 22 million litres sold, which is still far below the 38 million litres sold at this time last year both in store and across the hospitality sector.
There was significant growth for stout which accounted for €6 million in sales, as well as cider and gin across both local and non-local brands.
Irish consumers are also opting for local options when choosing their baking ingredients, with sales of Irish produced flour brands up over 217% in the last four weeks, and Irish produced sugar increasing by 65%, both significantly outperforming non local alternatives.
The Nielsen data shows that in the four weeks ending 17th of May, grocery sales in Ireland totalled €1 billion – a growth of 17% compared to the same period in 2019.
Large supermarkets experienced the biggest growth, with value sales up 24% compared to the same period last year, whilst value sales at convenience stores were up by 10%.
As well as alcohol, popular categories over this four week period included frozen food, where sales increased by 35% to reach €19m, as well as shelf-stable food which experienced a 30% surge in demand, reaching €71m.
Karen Mooney, Ireland market leader at Nielsen has said that local shops will continue to play an important role during this pandemic.
“With shoppers less willing to travel further than absolutely necessary, many are turning to the closest local shops to meet their needs. Many shoppers are also actively seeking out local products both for convenience, as the relatively less complex supply chains has meant a wider availability of local products, but also because of greater trust in the safety of local products and the desire to support local producers and businesses,” she said.+
It’s often said that, during economic downturns, advertising and marketing are the first budgets to be cut in small and medium sized businesses. With the announcement of Love Irish Food’s 2020 Double Up Awards, this problem is being addressed head-on with a top prize of a “Double Up” totalling €200,000.00 in radio air time. In partnership with Core and Media Central, Love Irish Food will give five Irish food companies the chance to double their spend on radio advertising in the first and second quarters of 2021. Kieran Rumley, executive director of Love Irish Food, says this is a bit of a departure from their usual awards.
Brand Development Awards
“For the last number of years we’ve run the Brand Development Awards for smaller producers,” he says. “This one is for those who are a bit larger and may have advertised before. The aim is to give them a stronger budget they can plan for now.”
In light of the business interruptions that occurred throughout the COVID-19 lockdown and with the uncertainty of Brexit on the horizon, Kieran says that amplifying the voices of Irish brands has become increasingly important.
“At the moment, people seem focused on (what will happen) this year, but I really think next year we’re going to have the ultimate fallout,” he says. “Hopefully, by then, COVID-19 will have been well-handled, but the cliff edge is Brexit. We don’t know yet what will happen, but the signs are not great, at the moment, for a smooth transition.”
“There is a lot of good will at the moment (among consumers) with shopping local, supporting local and staying local,” he continues. “We want to move that intention into a bit of action, to encourage support of local brands, of foods produced here in Ireland and especially those that use local ingredients where possible. We want to give these brands a stronger voice to consumers; to give them a better edge against imported competitors.”
While Love Irish Food awards are usually geared toward brands that are members, this year they have opened things up to both members and non-members; giving all Irish food brands an equal opportunity to win. Along with winning a €40,000 radio advertising budget for the second quarter of 2021 (matching a spend of €40,000 on advertising in the first quarter), Love Irish Food, Core & Media Central will work with the winners to plan their advertising campaign in accordance with their brand objectives. Winners will have their campaigns shared across Media Central radio stations, which include Newstalk and Today FM. Media Central’s eight stations achieve a weekly audience of over two million.
It is hugely important that we support this Irish industry and other locally owned businesses in every way that we can
Gavin Deans, Media Central’s managing director, says it’s a crucial time to support Irish food producers.
“It is hugely important that we support this Irish industry and other locally owned businesses in every way that we can,” he says. “We hope this initiative can do just that by allowing the winners to reach a much wider audience, over a longer period, across our network of stations than might otherwise have been possible and provide a base to build on in 2021.”
The judging panel includes Kieran Rumley (Love Irish Food), Eddie O’ Mahony (Core) and Gavin Deans (Media Central). Judging will commence in September, with the five winners to be notified on Monday, 28 September.