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Supermarkets won't lose out from Covid-19 pressures on the cost of food

Richard Curran


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Trolley dash: Changing shopping habits and an increase in online shopping will put pressures on pricing in the overall supply chain. PHOTO: VICTORIA JONES/PA

Trolley dash: Changing shopping habits and an increase in online shopping will put pressures on pricing in the overall supply chain. PHOTO: VICTORIA JONES/PA

PA

Trolley dash: Changing shopping habits and an increase in online shopping will put pressures on pricing in the overall supply chain. PHOTO: VICTORIA JONES/PA

During the height of lockdown, main roads were almost empty of traffic. The quiet country roads and back lanes of south Monaghan were even quieter. Yet, I recall a number of times, seeing a Tesco grocery delivery van pottering along tiny narrow back roads I know in the area, which meander over rolling hills like a scene from 'Postman Pat'.

As more people rushed to buy their groceries online for home delivery, one wondered how supermarket chains could make any money on such quiet routes with scattered houses. One particular boreen where I saw the Tesco van is nearly 14 miles from the Tesco in Bailieborough, Co Cavan, and 18 miles from the Tesco in Dundalk.

It isn't that long since Tesco's British executives referred to the hefty margins in Ireland as "Treasure Island". The grocery retailers in general made a fortune during the lockdown which saw an extra €628m spent on groceries in Ireland during the three months to mid-June.