Cost of groceries in Irish supermarkets climbs almost 13% in 12 months

However, grocery price inflation falls as ice-creams and barbecues take a hit

The cost of groceries in Irish supermarkets climbed by just under 13 per cent in the 12 months to the start of this month, new figures from retail analysts Kantar have suggested.

The figures also highlight the miserable weather in July with sales of ice-creams and barbecue-related products suffering a significant setback and unseasonable products including soups experiencing an unexpected bounce.

While the double-digit price increase will heap more pressure on Irish households in advance of the autumn and winter months, the rate of inflation has fallen by almost 2 per cent since last month.

The latest data puts the rate of inflation at 12.8 per cent compared with a rate of 14.7 per cent recorded last month and one of close to 17 per cent just three months ago.

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The report also suggests that take-home grocery sales in Ireland increased by 6.8 per cent in the four weeks to August 6th, 2023, with the average price per pack climbing by 8.8 per cent, according to the latest data from Kantar. Inflation is the driving factor behind the uptick in sales rather than increased purchasing.

“This is the third month in a row where there has been a drop in grocery inflation, which is welcome news for Irish consumers, although the rate is still incredibly high,” said Kantar’s business development director Emer Healy.

“Compared to last month’s grocery inflation rate of 14.7 per cent there has been a significant drop of 1.9 percentage points. This is the lowest level we have seen over the past 10 months, and we expect to see a continued gradual decline in inflation rates over the coming months.”

She said the good news is that the “slowdown in grocery inflation is starting to come through in prices on the shelf. Compared to May 2023, when grocery inflation hit its highest peak of 16.5 per cent, we are starting to see a slight decline in average prices on essential lines. As a result, we are spending €0.36 less on butter, milk and cheese combined.”

Own-label goods remain popular, with sales up 13 per cent in the last 12 weeks, compared with brands at 5.7 per cent. For the third consecutive month, own label retains a higher share of the market than brands, hitting a value share of 48.1 per cent compared with branded share at 46.3 per cent.

“Buying own label lines is one of the ways in which Irish consumers have been trying to save money at the tills and we can see the impact of this on their spend,” Ms Healy said. “The average increase in the household weekly grocery shop is €9.10 compared to last year, well below the extra €17.80 shoppers would have paid if they bought the same items 12 months ago based on the current rate of inflation.”

Hopes of a sunny July were dampened with widespread downpours across Ireland impacting sales of the usual summer favourites. Barbecues were kept under wraps as Irish shoppers spent €493,000 less on chilled burgers and grills, and €1.3 million less on chilled prepared salads year on year.

With no need for a summer cool down, shoppers also spent €2.5 million less on ice-cream and a combined €2.3 million less on fruit squash and mineral water.

With Irish consumers spending more time indoors, sales of take-home confectionery and take-home savouries rose €4.7 million and €2.6 million respectively. Unseasonal weather also meant consumers looked for “warmers”, spending an additional €2.8 million on soup and hot beverages.

Dunnes, Tesco and Lidl all grew in advance of the total market in terms of value this month. The gap between the top three retailers continues too close with Tesco and Dunnes holding the combined highest share.

Dunnes holds 22.6 per cent with growth of 12.7 per cent year on year. Tesco also holds 22.6 per cent of the market with growth of 12.6 per cent year on year.

SuperValu holds 20.9 per cent of the market with growth of 5.8 per cent. Lidl has 13.8 per cent share with growth of 12.7 per cent year on year while Aldi is on 12.6 per cent with annual growth of 7.7 per cent.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor