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.+
Irish consumers have been buying Irish products in supermarkets in huge numbers since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, with leading local brands recording growth of almost 20 per cent, according to retail analysts Kantar.
New research from Kantar, presented at a Love Irish Food conference on Wednesday, indicated that 44 of the 100 top-selling take-home grocery brands in the Republic during 2020 were Irish produced, recording growth of 18 per cent to a total of €1.07 billion in combined sales.
All told, the brands capture 48 per cent of the money spent among the 100 top -selling take-home grocery brands in Ireland, the online symposium heard.
The strength and agility of the Irish food supply chain in the face of the pandemic, and the challenges of Brexit, were also to the fore at the event hosted by the Love Irish Food umbrella organisation.
The Irish food sector has demonstrated “great resilience” over the course of 12 months of pandemic and can look forward to a brighter year ahead, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said in opening the event.
He suggested that in the face of “the extraordinary challenges of the past year, the agri-food sector has demonstrated great resilience”, although he pointed to a divergence within the sector which has seen the food service industry “experience near collapse” while the food retail sector has recorded year-on-year growth of more than 20 per cent.
He stressed that the Government would do what it could to “invigorate” the local economy and he highlighted the importance of individual consumers playing their part by choosing to shop locally.
“Every time a consumer makes a conscious decision to purchase a [locally sourced] product, this is good for local employment and local businesses all over Ireland as well,” Mr Varadkar said. “It is the purchasing decisions of consumers that matter most.”
Acknowledging the difficulties facing the food sector he said there were “grounds for optimism” with the vaccine rollout.
“Things are going to look a lot better in a few months’ time,” he said. “I know it has been a really difficult start to the year but I am increasingly optimistic about the year ahead.”
According to Love Irish Food, there has been “clear evidence” since the start of the pandemic that consumers want to support local producers.
The commercial director at Tesco Ireland, Joe Manning, pointed to “huge changes” in shopper behaviour since the start of the crisis with the numbers shopping online more than doubling over the past 12 months.
He recalled the panic of this time last year when shelves were stripped bare as fears mounted that products would be in short supply and he hailed the robust supply chains which ensured that retail had been able to deal with the crisis and meet the surge in demand.
He predicted that “more thoughtful shopping” and a continued focus on health, cooking from scratch and baking would endure once the pandemic passes.
Mr Manning also pointed to the “elephant in the room”– Brexit – which he said had presented challenges which “are here to stay”.
He said supply chain issues were “settling down” but warned that things would never be as seamless as they were prior to the UK’s departure from the EU at the end of last year.
“The contribution of Irish-manufactured food and drink brands to the local and national economies in Ireland is both vital and immense,” said Kieran Rumley of Love Irish Food. “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.”+