Irish shoppers have chosen to ‘support local’ during the COVID-19 lockdown period, spending €178m on Irish sourced grocery products in the last four weeks ending 17th May 2020. This is an additional €35m spent on local products compared to the same period in 2019, reveals new data released today from Nielsen. The data also shows that the fastest overall growing grocery category continues to be alcohol, as Irish consumers remain without access to pubs and bars.
The demand for locally-sourced Irish products, which has grown by 25% in the last four weeks, has outpaced the growth of non-Irish brands, which experienced value growth of +22% compared to the same period in 2019. In terms of unit sales, this is a +5.4% increase for local brands, while unit sales for non-Irish produced brands grew by +3.1%.
Irish alcohol brands have contributed in large part (47%) to the growth in sales of locally produced products. In fact, the data shows that – inclusive of Irish and non-Irish brands – alcohol is the fastest growing grocery category. With pubs, bars and restaurants remaining closed, Nielsen data shows that alcohol sales increased by +66% in the four weeks ending 17th May 2020, reaching €140m. That equates to 22m litres sold, which is still far below the 38m litres sold at this time last year across both the on-trade and off-trade. There was significant growth for stout (+151%) which accounted for €6m in sales, as well as cider (+101% to €11.6m) and gin (+69% to €4.3m) across both local and non-local brands.
Irish consumers are also opting for local when choosing their baking ingredients, with sales of Irish produced flour brands up +217% (+€786k) in the last four weeks, and Irish produced sugar increasing by +65% (+€250k), both significantly outperforming non local alternatives.
Nielsen data shows that in the four weeks ending 17th 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 ambient grocery (shelf-stable food) which experienced a +30% surge in demand, reaching €71m.
According to Karen Mooney, Ireland market leader at Nielsen: “Provenance has become increasingly important as a result of the global health 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. Alcohol remains the category continuing to experience the strongest growth and it is likely this will continue as the weather gets warmer and the restrictions remain in place for restaurants, pubs and bars.”