Price is no longer the key driving factor in the branded food and drink buying habits of Irish shoppers, according to new research.
Trust in the brand, country of origin and local provenance are now the top priorities, according to the study commissioned by Love Irish Food.
The annual Food Barometer was conducted by Amárach Research among 1,000 adult respondents who are wholly or partially responsible for their households grocery shopping.
Findings show that the Irish love affair with brands continues among Irish shoppers.
Those who claim to only buy or mostly buy brands, account for 43% of shoppers, with those who ‘seldom’ buy brands accounting for a mere 8%.
Those living in Dublin are far more likely to be ‘brand loyalists’ with 50% of those living in the capital being self-determined in that category because they ‘only buy well known brands’.
This compare to 21% in the rest of Leinster, 21% in Munster and only 8% in both Connacht /Ulster, demonstrating this level of loyalty to branded goods.
But the key factor among those shopping for branded products is clearly no longer price.
— Love Irish Food (@LoveIrishFood) September 27, 2015
A composite of trust in the brand, country of origin and local provenance are the top priorities (35%), closely followed by product quality (25%), and then price (23%).
Provenance and product quality rather than price are the key factors when all responses are combined, with 10% making purchase decisions based on ‘family appeal’ and a mere 6% buying certain products out of habit alone.
Respondents were also asked which well known Irish brands they believe will stand the test of time and remain on shelf in 20 years’ time.
The top 10 brands chosen were Barry’s Tea (78%), Cadbury’s (76%), Tayto (75%), Lyons (72%), Dairygold (66%), Kerrygold (64%), HB (62%), Denny (61%), Flahavans (59%) and Avonmore (57%)
Priorities for shoppers put family as more important to the main shopper than any other motivating factor, with 86% agreeing with the statement that ‘family is more important to me than anything else’.
When questioned about the regularity of eating a family meal together each week, the results show a mere 11% fail to eat together as a family once a week or less.
Conversely, 89% of all families eat together at least 2-3 days a week.
With the increasing prevalence of younger adults still living at home either as college students, or in work, this is a very positive indication given the well documented mental and health related benefits of eating together as a family regularly.
Love Irish Food in conjunction with Kantar Worldpanel confirms that despite an average of almost 30,000 different products on shelf across grocery retailers, shoppers tend to remain loyal to certain brands and a rather limited array of repeated purchases in their weekly shop.
An average of only 78 different products are bought over any 12-week period throughout the year despite the staggering choice of products available, showing once again the loyalty of Irish shoppers to certain much loved products.
Kieran Rumley, executive director, Love Irish Food, said the overall grocery market is showing little growth year on year due to the intense competition in the market among the larger retailers.
He said there is enormous value in Irish produced food brands for shoppers.
The research findings demonstrate clearly that what people are looking for is no longer just price.
Their choices are driven to an even greater degree by trust in brands and their origin, quality and now, to a lesser extent, price.
He said the agri-food industry in Ireland currently provides direct and indirect employment for 220,000 people with food and beverage manufacturing enterprises accounting for €26bn of total turnover.
“Love Irish Food member brands alone employ approximately 30,000 people directly and indirectly with these jobs accounting for approximately €800m in wages and contributing over €250m per annum to the Irish exchequer,” he said.
Mr Rumley said Love Irish Food exists to safeguard the future of branded food and drink manufacturing in Ireland.
It was launched in 2009 with 29 brands from a small number of companies.
Today it boasts a membership base that counts almost 90 leading Irish food and drink brands.
Love Irish Food says what all of these brands have in common is they’re Irish and support local producers, people that work in kitchens and factories and those that make sure their products get to local supermarket shelf.
The group’s view that small acts can make a big difference when a shopper chooses one brand over another is also supported by the research findings.
A total of 84% of shoppers feel that small groups of individuals can make a real difference to the performance of the Irish economy.
And 66% strongly agree that what happens in Ireland is more important to them than what happens in other countries.
Love Irish Food, according to its website, aims to help shoppers make informed choices about buying Irish manufactured food and drinks.
The association’s logo is a guarantee that the product on which it appears is manufactured in the Republic of Ireland and that the brand uses ingredients from Ireland.
Love Irish Food paints a website word picture of shoppers pushing trolleys in supermarkets, where every Irish product on the shelves is a real home-grown story about people working from farm to factory to supermarket floor to bring them great quality.
“And it’s those people that we want you to think about and hopefully, together, we can make a real difference to their livelihoods,” it says, adding that shoppers can protect Irish jobs with simple choices.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved