Thursday 21 November 2019

Time to get off brand wagon – you can save and buy Irish

LOST IN THE SUPERMARKET: Blinded by brands
LOST IN THE SUPERMARKET: Blinded by brands
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

OUR loyalty to branded groceries is costing us hugely. Some people have twigged that massive savings can be made by opting for private-label goods in supermarkets, but many still remain wedded to brand buying.

Often, this is bound up with a misplaced belief that buying expensive brands is a way of supporting Irish companies.

New research conducted by the Consumers Association of Ireland (CAI) exposes how ditching branded goods means shoppers can save up to 40 per cent of the cost of filling a shopping trolley.

The CAI has been surveying the cost of a basket of 19, mainly branded, goods every year since 2000.

Included in the basket is the likes of Avonmore milk, Kerrygold butter, Kelloggs cornflakes, Brennans sliced pan and Fairy washing up liquid.

The cost of these 19 staples came to €41.95 this year. This is 2 per cent up on the 2013 bill for the goods. That seems a slight increase, but that is still a multiple of the official inflation rate.

What is more shocking is that the same basket of goods cost €33.30 back in 2007, before the economy imploded. That is an extra €8.65 to buy the 19 goods, or a 26 per cent increase.

Stores surveyed include Dunnes, Tesco and SuperValu.

Now substitute the same 19 branded items for in-store private label goods, or even shop in Lidl or Aldi, and the cost of the basket of goods drops by a staggering 40 per cent to around €25.17.

More people are realising that buying brands for the kitchen table is an expensive business.

According to Kantar Worldpanel research, private-label goods account for around one-third of the grocery market in this country.

And other research shows most people agree that the quality of retailers' own-brand products has improved in recent years.

And it is not always the case that by discarding our usual branded goods, we are being disloyal to the country.

Many of us think that grocery items with Irish names are made here, but that is not always the case.

Most consumers are not aware that products like Lyons Tea, Siucra sugar, HB ice cream and Erin Soup are produced abroad, according to the Love Irish Food marketing body.

The average spend per household on groceries a week is €131. About half of this goes on branded goods, with the rest on unbranded goods and supermarket own-labels.

If we want to keep grocery spending down we can do two things. One, is to buy own-label items.

And secondly, if buying Irish is important, which of course it is, look out for products with the Love Irish Food symbol on them.

If we must spend on branded goods, we can at least make sure they are made in Ireland.

Twitter: @Cweston_Indo

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business