'Mothers buying Irish produce to support economy and save jobs'

Mothers are buying local Irish products in order to support the economy and secure jobs, according to new research.

Food producers are among the chief beneficiaries of the home-focused consciousness revealed by a survey published yesterday as part of Showcase, Ireland’s Creative Expo, in Dublin.

One third of mothers surveyed said they would buy an Irish gift ahead of an imported version, if given the choice.

Just under three-quarters (73%) of mothers said they shop Irish for jobs and economic recovery reasons, with almost two thirds (58%) saying they are more likely to buy Irish products today compared to a year ago.

The survey of over 700 Irish mothers was undertaken by Amárach Research and presented by the company at a retail seminar at the Showcase expo in the RDS.

The Amárach research will come as a welcome boost to food producers. Conducted during the pre-Christmas rush, it suggests a shift in focus from a study conducted by Kantar in November indicating a mild growth in people buying their groceries from multiples and discount supermarkets.

The Kantar study showed a 1.7% shift up to 88% overall market share held by the bigger stores, indicating a mildly stronger focus on price.

The Amárach research found that 44% of mothers are now more likely to buy Irish groceries. Some 19% are more likely to buy Irish groceries in Irish-owned supermarkets.

Another 37% said they feel buying Irish will save jobs, while 36% say buying Irish will create jobs. Four-in-five Irish mothers (84%) have seen or heard coverage about buying Irish in the last six months.

Nonetheless, the organisers of the Showcase Expo also caution that the survey indicates that pricing needs to be keen to encourage increased buying, with just 10% saying they buy Irish for cost reasons.

Karen Hennessy, chief executive of organisers the Crafts Council of Ireland, said: “There is definitely a concerted effort on behalf of Irish consumers to buy and shop local. The momentum has been building over the last 12 months and we are now at the pinnacle point. It is vital we push this message home and make a difference for small Irish business.”

An estimated €20 million in orders is expected over the four days of Showcase, which is attracting 5,000 buyers from all over the world. Showcase features 350 of the country’s leading designers, manufacturers and craftspeople.

Director of Amárach Orla Murphy said: “People are gravitating towards Irish out of a sense of patriotism and duty. There is a huge desire from Irish mothers to support the economy and jobs and to ensure that husbands, sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters have a future in the country.”

Meanwhile, Kantar research for the 12 weeks to the end of December showed that consumers are making more frequent trips and putting less into their shopping baskets.

While the big supermarkets all increased their annual profits, much of the commentary focused on the smaller shopping baskets.

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