Bord Bia study shows Irish people are wasting less

Feeling the Pinch shows 73% of consumers have become better at managing their finances since the recession

Vegetables on  display in a supermarket. Photograph: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

Vegetables on display in a supermarket. Photograph: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 08:25

The recession has turned us into a nation of canny consumers. People are thinking twice before making the smallest purchases, throwing away less food and making better use of leftovers, a Bord Bia survey shows.

The Feeling the Pinch study of the habits of 1,500 consumers in Ireland and Britain will be outlined to the food and drink industry today at a Bord Bia gathering in Dublin. Its head of consumer insight and innovation Helen King said the food board would use the findings to help food and drink companies with their plans to meet emerging consumer needs.

In the study, 73 per cent of Irish consumers said they had become better at managing their finances since the recession began. This was an increase of 10 per cent since the survey was conducted last year. The same percentage said they thought twice before making even the smallest purchases, a 7 per cent increase since last year. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said they threw away less food now than before the recession.

Money worries

Asked about money worries, the cost of electricity and gas in the home came first, followed by petrol. Having enough money to retire and the cost of living were also cited as worries.

Priorities are shifting with 53 per cent of consumers saying happiness should be higher on the Government agenda than economic growth. That figure has risen 15 per cent since 2011. And 27 per cent said they had become more involved with the local community than before the recession, an increase of 7 per cent. Almost a quarter of those surveyed said they talked to their neighbours more now than they did before the recession. Almost half of the Irish consumers surveyed agreed they were starting to feel more optimistic about their lives and the future.

Happy days

Irish consumers were less pessimistic about the economy than their British counterparts with 26 per cent saying they believed the economy would get better in the next year, compared with 16 per cent of British people.