Clear evidence consumers are increasingly buying Irish during pandemic.
Forty-four of the top 100 selling grocery brands in Ireland are Irish produced; this cohort has grown by 18% to a total of €1.07bn in combined sales.
Wednesday, 10 March 2021, Dublin – There is clear evidence that consumers are increasingly buying Irish throughout the global health pandemic brought about by Covid-19, delegates at a key food and drinks industry symposium hosted by Love Irish Food today (Wednesday) will hear.
The Love Irish Food seminar, which will be streamed live online this morning, includes keynote addresses from An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, and leading industry experts on the future of Irish produced food and drinks brands.
According to research from Kantar Worldpanel, to be presented on during the Love Irish Food conference, 44 of the top 100 selling grocery brands in Ireland during 2020 were Irish produced. Over the past year during the pandemic, this cohort of 44 brands has grown by 18% to a total of €1.07bn in combined sales. These Irish brands currently capture 48% of the money spent among the 100 top-selling grocery brands in Ireland.
The Kantar research will be presented on at the Love Irish Food symposium by David Berry, Managing Director, Ireland at Kantar Worldpanel. Other industry experts speaking at the event include Joe Manning, Commercial Director at Tesco Ireland and leading Economist Jim Power.
Commenting, Kieran Rumley, Executive Director at Love Irish Food, said: “The contribution of Irish manufactured food and drink brands to the local and national economies in Ireland is both vital and immense. Love Irish Food aims to educate Irish consumers so that they recognise Irish brands. Buying more Irish made products helps Irish businesses survive and protects Irish jobs, which is critical in the current climate in the context of the global health pandemic and will be crucial in driving economic recovery.”
THE ROLE OF LOVE IRISH FOOD IN DRIVING ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Love Irish Food was formed in 2009 with the aim of helping consumers make informed choices about buying Irish manufactured food and drinks. The aim is to promote the consumption of Irish food and drink and create a realisation that every time a consumer makes a conscious decision to purchase an Irish manufactured food or drink product, this is supporting vital local employment, local businesses, and local sustainability all over Ireland.
While many Irish agri-food companies have a strong export focus, the domestic market is also very important, particularly for smaller companies who lack scale. Smaller companies can build scale in the domestic market, and eventually achieve an export capability, Love Irish Food must play a key role in driving home these messages, but ultimately it is the purchasing decisions of consumers that will matter most.
In the first 11 months of 2020, Ireland imported over €8 billion worth of food and drink products. Of these imports, the UK accounted for 47 per cent of the total. In the context of Brexit, some of these products from the UK are becoming more difficult to source and more expensive. There has to be potential for import substitution – in other words producing locally, what we previously imported. The decisions taken by Irish consumers can play a key role in this regard. The role of Love Irish Food is to help inform consumers about the impact of such decisions on local communities and local economies. This message has resonated with many people during the COVID-19 crisis, and the objective now is to ensure that post-COVID, consumers will not forget the importance of supporting local producers. By doing so, they are having beneficial impact on the local economy and the environment.+
FOOD companies seeking to boost revenue are most likely to launch new products and services in the coming year and least likely to raise prices, according to new research.
The survey by PwC and the non-profit body Love Irish Food found most executives at small and medium-sized food enterprises are optimistic of growth in 2020.
Some 88pc of the approximately 70 executives polled said they expect to grow sales, including 34pc who expect to see more than 10pc gains in revenue next year. By contrast, 10pc expect revenues to remain the same and only 2pc foresee a decline.
When asked to choose what activities beyond organic growth would drive revenue gains next year, 22pc said they would launch new products and services, 19pc would seek operational efficiencies, 15pc would grow new markets, and only 6pc would raise prices.
“The survey highlights evidence of optimism among Irish SMEs around growth into 2020, notwithstanding a difficult trading environment,” said Love Irish Food executive director Kieran Rumley.
“There are considerable challenges in areas such as availability of skills across the board from operational to technical to management.
“This in turn highlights the need for a greater take-up of available apprenticeships in the industry.”
When asked what level of investment they intended to make in 2020 to grow their business, 63pc said under €500,000, 17pc €500,000-€1m, 6pc €1m-€3m, 10pc over €3m and only 4pc nothing.
“It’s encouraging to see that the majority of survey respondents are looking to invest in their companies in the coming year,” Mr Rumley said. “For certain food sectors, this represents a significant growth opportunity, specifically for those import substitution sectors.
“However, behind these positive signals there remains the worrying inability of Irish food producers to recover adequate costs, forcing them to continue to operate on even tighter margins.”
When asked if they had delayed investment because of Brexit-related uncertainties, 31pc said yes, 69pc no.
And the vast majority, 84pc, said they have an environmental sustainability plan in place and will use it to improve green efficiencies in 2020.
Mr Rumley said: “Food companies are taking the sustainability challenge seriously with many planning to invest in initiatives to improve the environment. This, together with the strong regional dispersion of the food industry base, contributes greatly to overall sustainability.”