Grocery costs soar as inflation hits weekly grocery shopping

FOOD price inflation hit 3.7 percent, the highest since October 2013, according to new figures released this morning by research group Kantar.

The number — for the 12 weeks ended March 20 — compares to a food inflation rate of 2.4 percent in the previous 12-week period and underscores just how quickly rising energy costs are affecting consumers.

These higher energy prices make it more expensive for food manufacturers to grow, manufacture and ship their goods.

This time last year, the food inflation rate measured by Kantar was just 0.9 percent.

The group analyzes the prices of more than 30,000 products to determine the rate of inflation. However, it does point out that buyers are likely to achieve a “lower personal inflation rate” if they trade lower or seek more deals.

But the range of goods in the supermarkets is falling due to the overall higher costs.

“While rising costs are hot on the heels of retailers and shoppers, supermarket prices are being pushed up,” said Emer Healy, senior retail analyst at Kantar.

“The number of products sold under promotions is down 5.7 per cent as grocers look to ease supply chain pressure and we have seen a significant increase in the average price of staples such as bread, butter over the last 12 weeks and toilet paper found. ”

The chief executive of Pat the Baker, based in Longford, Declan Fitzgerald, told the Irish Independent last month that the company was “staggered” by the rapid rise in flour and gas prices.

Mr Fitzgerald said the price of premium flour used to bake bread has “gone crazy” in international markets in recent months. Flour is no longer produced in Ireland, imports come from Great Britain, mainland Europe and the United States.

Kantar said that inflation, not the pandemic, is now the main driver of changes in consumer behavior in Ireland.

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“This is a stressful time for consumers and that anxiety is being felt in stores,” she said.

“When the promotions die down, shoppers focus on looking for cheaper alternatives,” she pointed out. “Private label’s share of the grocery market is increasing and has grown by 1.2 percent since last year.”

Ms Healy added: “Retailers’ own lines now account for 46.3 per cent of total grocery sales. Headlines about pasta and flour shortages have also caused sales of those products to skyrocket, with both categories up 22 and 30 percent respectively in March.”

Kantar noted this morning that the growth in online grocery shopping during the pandemic was one of the habits from the Covid crisis that has become entrenched.

Since 2018, the online share of the grocery market has increased by 3.1 percentage points, mainly due to couples without children.

New Kantar data shows Dunnes Stores held the largest share of the Irish grocery market at 22.4 per cent over the past 12 weeks. SuperValu had 21.6 percent and Tesco had 21.3 percent. Lidl had 13 pieces while Aldi had 12.4 pieces. Grocery costs soar as inflation hits weekly grocery shopping

Fry Electronics Team

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