Pressure on Irish shoppers’ pockets grew in January as grocery price inflation powered higher even though global energy costs have started to level off.
Grocery price inflation in Ireland soared to a record 16.3pc in the 12-week period to January 23, according to the latest figures from research group Kantar.
This also reflected a jump from December when grocery price inflation stood at 15.4pc.
The ongoing price rises will now see households pay an additional €1,159 on their annual shopping bills this year, unless they cut back or trade down.
Grocery sales in Ireland rose by 5pc in the four weeks to January 23, with inflation fuelling value sales growth.
Overall, the volume of supermarket trips across the four-week period declined by 13pc.
Consumers in Ireland were eager to make savings following the festive period, with own-label products picked up by more shoppers than ever in January.
Sales of own-brand products rose by 10.4pc across the month. Premium own- label sales in Irish supermarkets have now reached €152.6m, reflecting a €5.7m boost from 2022.
Meanwhile, value lines, the cheapest products from a grocer’s own-brand offerings, recorded a 34pc growth across the year, with sales up €17.9m.
Branded items recorded more sluggish levels of demand across the month. Purchases of these items were up by 4.7pc in the period.
“With consumers keeping a close eye on their purse strings after indulging during the festive period it’s no surprise that shoppers continued to trade down to supermarkets’ own- label products this period,” senior retail analyst Emer Healy said.
Kantar also found that the number of Irish households who said they were currently struggling declined from 32pc in October to 23pc in December. This change was attributed to cost-of – living measures introduced in the Budget, such as electricity account credit.
The Kantar report also showed that 38pc of consumers were using a money-saving voucher for each shop.
Although Irish shoppers were eager to find deals in supermarkets, the level of items bought on promotion fell to the lowest level in five years. The number of products purchased while on offer now stands at 27.7pc, according to the latest Kantar data.
Online sales were also strong at the beginning of the year, rising 5.6pc compared with same period in 2022. January saw a growing number of shoppers in Ireland moving online, with almost one in five households now completing the weekly shop online.
Many Irish shoppers began the year on a health kick, with consumers spending €848,000 more on vitamins and mineral supplements in January.
Meat-free alternatives also generated sales in January, with purchases up 4pc, as some shoppers opted to try ‘Veganuary’. Dry January was also on the agenda for some shoppers, with sales of non-alcoholic beverages rising by 4.6pc.
Dunnes Stores retained the top spot in the Irish grocery market, with a 23.7pc market share.
Tesco followed closely with a 23.1pc market share, with SuperValu rounding out the top three, with a market share of 20.9pc.
Discount grocer Lidl holds a 12.2pc market share, with new shoppers contributing an additional €25.5m to its performance in the past year.