Cost of living crisis is taking hold as retailers push up price of basic goods
Consumers now face paying at least €100 extra over the course of a year on a modest basket of shopping .
The Irish Independent has found a basket of shopping went up by €2 to €3 in Ireland’s major supermarkets since the beginning of the year as people are feeling the pinch of inflation.
We did a basic food shop in Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, SuperValu and Dunnes on January 29, March 9 and on April 13.
We looked at the prices for bread, milk, butter, pasta, chicken breasts, soft drinks, crisps, cereal, eggs, tea bags, cheese, ham, yogurt, potatoes, bananas, toilet roll and apples.
For each shop, we stuck to the same brand for each item or the closest possible product.
Since the end of January, prices have increased in all five shops, with three out of the five having an increase of €2 or more. In the past five weeks, Aldi, SuprValu and Dunnes have increased while Lidl and Tesco are slightly down.
However, all baskets are dearer than they were at the end of January.
The biggest price hike is seen in SuperValu. A basket of the 17 items cost €46.47 in January, €48.69 in March and €49.84 in April.
The basket we looked at in Dunnes went from €46.47 11 weeks ago to €48.69 six weeks ago and is now €49.84. A slightly smaller shop done in Dunnes also showed a €2 difference in price. The exact same basket of 15 items in January cost €39.89 and a couple of days ago cost €42.05.
Aldi and Lidl were the cheapest supermarkets overall and both had between a €1 or €2 price difference in the past 11 weeks.
Aldi’s basket of the 17 items was €33.62 in January, €32.91 in March and €35.25 in April.
Lidl’s overall shop was cheaper this week compared with March, with the most recent basket coming in at €37.19 and the one before that costing €38.90.
However, overall, there has still been a slight increase as January’s shop cost €36.84.
Similarly, Tesco’s April basket cost €43.76, which is €2 cheaper than the basket in March (€45.78), but since January there has been a €2.02 increase.
In the most recent shop, although baskets varied in brands slightly, Aldi was the cheapest and Dunnes was the dearest. The items that cost more are bread, chicken, cheese, bananas, and in some shops milk.
Uncooked chicken is noticeably dearer, especially in Lidl, where 500g of breasts now costs €4.99 (was €3.69).
Its full chickens are also significantly dearer, with a 1.9kg chicken now €4.69 (was €3.49).
Brennans Bread has also become dearer in the past 11 weeks – it was 15c up in Aldi, 13c up in Tesco, 12c up in Dunnes and 10c up in SuperValu.
Dermott Jewell, policy and council adviser for the Consumers’ Association of Ireland, said the price rises found by the Irish Independent had identified were “quite an increase”.
“The reflection that there is an increase of any kind adds to all of the pain. The reality is that food prices as much as everything else are increasing at a rate that’s fairly steady,” he said.
“That’s quite an increase, so it needs to be borne in mind that it is bearing out all those messages that are out there, which is you have to do everything and anything you can on the outlay.
“But when you are looking at food increasing, it’s quite a challenge because you must buy food. You can only buy what you know and like and what suits you and some people depending on their health, they can’t change, so if it’s gone up it’s gone up and that’s the difficulty.”
Mr Jewell said his advice to consumers would be to look at the prices of products in different shops and to buy generic brands where possible.
We also compared the prices of shopping own-brand and named brand in each supermarket.
In all stores, buying own-brand where possible made the overall shop significantly cheaper. Aldi’s own brand shop was €10.34 cheaper than its named brand, Lidl’s was €15.10 less, Tesco’s was €14.20 cheaper, Dunnes was €8.60 less and SuperValu’s was €11.92 cheaper.