I went shopping for veg and came home with a saxophone
Published 21/10/2015 | 02:30
Can you both love and hate something at the same time? The subject of my conflicting feelings is the discount supermarket chain, Lidl.
It's hard to believe it's just 15 years since the first Lidl shop opened in Ireland. The company was founded in Germany in the 1930s as a grocery wholesaler. Its first retail store was opened in 1973. The company now operates over 10,000 shops across Europe, with 143 of these in Ireland. It is still privately owned by its founder Dieter Schwarz and his family, whose Schwarz group reported a strong 7pc increase in sales in 2014 to €79.3bn.
Lidl's share of the Irish grocery market has been building and currently stands at about 8pc, which is similar to its fellow German discounter Aldi. These two, along with the three main supermarket chains Musgraves, Tesco and Dunnes, now account for 90pc of the Irish grocery market.
Isn't that a phenomenal figure? €9 out of every €10 we spend on groceries is spent in these Big Five.
My burst of love for Lidl came when, on a recent rare occasion that the TV remote ended up in my hands, I stumbled across the second series of RTE's Taste of Success.
Sponsored by Lidl, it's a food innovation competition which carries a prize of €100,000, with the winning product being sold in Lidl stores nationwide. €100,000 is a life-changing purse.
What gives this competition added appeal is that the contestants are mainly food enthusiasts rather than professionals.
They are ordinary people who are just doing something slightly different. Judge Catherine Fulvio chose as her finalist an Italian style hotpot because it was "family friendly". Afterwards, I thought: 'I could do something like that.'