Imports account for 45% of branded food
An estimated 45 per cent of branded grocery food products sold last year were imported, according to Love Irish Food, the initiative set up to encourage consumers to choose Irish food and drink brands.
It said a study by market researchers Kantar Worldpanel had found that the Republic’s total grocery market was worth €7.1 billion in the year to August 5th, with branded products making up 47 per cent of that.
Love Irish Food director Kieran Rumley said at least €1.5 billion worth, or 45 per cent, of the branded products sold last year were imported.
This highlighted an estimated €300 million opportunity for the Irish economy if shoppers were to buy just two more Irish-produced products on each shopping trip.
Research by Love Irish Food has uncovered considerable confusion about well-known brands. Some 80 per cent of those surveyed believed the imported Siúcra brand was produced in Ireland. Some 77 per cent believed the imported Lyons Tea brand was produced in Ireland while 71 per cent thought the imported HB ice-cream brand was produced here.
Mr Rumley said these results showed more needed to be done to tackle confusion over the origin of foods. He said imported brands with Irish-sounding names confused people. There was also confusion about brands that might have been manufactured here previously but had moved their manufacturing facilities abroad.
“These results give some indication as to how much this confusion is potentially costing the Irish economy every year,” he said.
Mr Rumley said it was the collective responsibility of all in the industry who were serious about supporting Irish jobs to do more to address this confusion.
He said the study also highlighted the gap between shoppers’ intentions and their purchases. Research by Bord Bia last year found 85 per cent of shoppers were loyal or conditionally loyal towards Irish brands.
However, this research found almost half of branded products purchased were imported.
Given this goodwill, there was “a clear opportunity” for Irish brands to grow their market share.
In relation to Ireland’s food industry, Mr Rumley said. “We must all play our part to protect and grow it in an increasingly competitive world. If it is as successful as it we believe it can be, we will all reap the rewards.”