Coca-Cola is named Ireland’s biggest-selling brand for 17th year in a row

Tayto overtakes Dairy Milk for second place in Checkout Top 100 Brands list

Coke remains “it” with Irish consumers: Coca-Cola has been named as the biggest-selling grocery brand in the market in the annual ranking from Checkout magazine for the 17th consecutive year.

The soft drink’s record-breaking streak at the top of the Checkout Top 100 Brands list saw it stay ahead of the number two brand, Tayto, which climbed one place on last year, pushing chocolate brand Dairy Milk down to number three.

Lucozade held steady at number four, with Avonmore fifth, up one place, knocking Brennans bread down to sixth.

The rankings, produced in partnership with NielsenIQ, reflect the value of sales in the grocery retail sector for the 12 months to April 25th, 2021. No private label products are included.


While most of the names at the upper end of the rankings have long been familiar to Irish brands, the top 10 saw a breakthrough this year in energy drink Monster, which took seventh place. This followed its rise from 25th to 11th in last year’s list.

The top 10 was rounded out by 7UP, down one spot, Red Bull, up one spot, and Jacobs, down two.

The biggest mover was Fitzgerald’s Family Bakery, which vaulted35 places, from 76th in 2020 to 41st, while other brands to make notable surges up the rankings included Nestlé Aero (up 28 places to 59th) and Ben & Jerry’s (up 26 places to 49th).

Alongside Co Cork’s Fitzgerald’s Family Bakery, other Irish brands to climb up the sales rankings included vitamin drink VITHIT, Stafford’s Bakeries and crisp-maker Keogh’s.

Checkout editor Maev Martin said the list showed the Covid-19 pandemic continued to have an impact on consumer purchasing habits.

“In 2020, we witnessed a big transition to in-home food and drink consumption. This continued into 2021, and will remain with us until there is a return to an open economy.”

Pandemic categories

A number of categories significantly improved their rankings in Checkout’s Top 100 Categories list, indicating the extent of the market shift. The biggest jump was made by health/functional drinks, which rose by a “phenomenal” 27 places to 60th.

“This massive upward move isn’t surprising given consumers’ desire to improve their health and boost their immune systems during the pandemic,” Ms Martin said.

Health was not the only thing consumers wanted to improve. With salons closed for half the sales period covered, hair colourants rose 25 places to 83rd, having last featured in the top 100 categories list in 2014.

The pandemic-driven focus on hygiene combined with the advent of working-from-home culture saw liquid soap climb nine places to 79th, dishwasher products rise 10 spots to 58th, and powdered baking products move up 10 places to 89th.

"Not only did consumers shop more than ever before, but the ways in which they shopped also changed," said Karen Mooney, NielsenIQ's commercial market leader for Ireland.

“While pandemic fads like banana bread may already have passed, a focus on buying local is set to continue as we begin to recover from this pandemic.”

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics