Irish consumers have been buying Irish products in droves in supermarkets since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, with major local brands growing by almost 20%, according to retail analysts Kantar.
New research from Kantar, presented at a Love Irish Food conference on Wednesday, found that 44 of the 100 best-selling take-out grocery brands in the Republic in 2020 were produced in Ireland, growing 18% for a year. total of € 1.07. billion dollars in combined sales.
In total, brands capture 48% of the money spent among Ireland’s top 100 best-selling take-out grocery brands, according to the online symposium.
The strength and agility of the Irish food supply chain in the face of the pandemic and the challenges of Brexit were also at the forefront at the event organized by the umbrella organization Love Irish Food.
The Irish food sector has shown “great resilience” over the 12 months of the pandemic and can look forward to a better year to come, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said as he opened the event.
He suggested that in the face of “the extraordinary challenges of the past year, the agri-food sector has shown great resilience”, although he pointed out a divergence within the sector which has seen the restaurant industry ” live on the brink of collapse ”while the food distribution sector has grown by more than 20 percent annually.
He stressed that the government would do everything possible to “revitalize” the local economy and stressed the importance for individual consumers to play their role in choosing to buy locally.
“Whenever a consumer makes a conscious decision to buy a [locally sourced] product, it’s good for local employment and local businesses across Ireland too, ”said Mr Varadkar. “It’s the purchasing decisions of consumers that matter most. “
Recognizing the challenges facing the food industry, he said there were “reasons for optimism” with the rollout of the vaccine.
“Things are going to look a lot better in a few months,” he said. “I know it has been a very difficult start to the year, but I am more and more optimistic about the year ahead.”
According to Love Irish Food, there has been “clear evidence” since the start of the pandemic that consumers want to support local producers.
Tesco Ireland chief commercial officer Joe Manning has highlighted “huge changes” in shoppers’ behavior since the onset of the crisis, with the number of online purchases more than doubling in the past 12 months.
He recalled the panic of that time last year when shelves were stripped as fears mounted that products would be scarce and he praised the robust supply chains that have enabled retail to cope with the crisis and respond to surging demand.
He predicted that “more thoughtful shopping” and a continued focus on health, cooking from scratch and baking would last once the pandemic is over.
Mr Manning also pointed to “the elephant in the room” – Brexit – which he said presented challenges that “are here to stay”.
Supply chain issues
He said supply chain issues were “sorting out,” but warned things would never be as transparent as before the UK left the EU at the end of the year. last year.
“The contribution of Irish-made food and drink brands to the local and national economies in Ireland is both vital and immense,” said Kieran Rumley of Love Irish Food. “Buying more products made in Ireland is helping Irish businesses to survive and protecting Irish jobs, which is essential in the current climate in the context of the global health pandemic and will be crucial in stimulating economic recovery.”