Strawberry sales on the rise as Irishmen unveil romantic side

 Caoilfhionn  Ní Chorraoin from Ring, Co Waterford, and Cypress Avenue, Cork,  with roses at   Best of Buds florists   for Valentine's Day. Picture: Des Barry

Dinner bookings are up, strawberries and flowers are being bought by the barrel-load... it’s that one day of the year for Irish men to be romantic.

With Valentine’s Day here, Irish romantics are not using the weather as an excuse not to spend money on their loved ones.

Nothing signifies romantic for an Irish man quite like the humble strawberry — and it’s certainly being reflected in the sales.

According to Donnelly, one of the country’s main purveyors of fruit and vegetables, sales of the fruit have doubled this week in advance of today.

Managing director Ciarán Donnelly said it wasn’t only the strawberry that was selling fast in the past few days.

“We have seen a significant rise in orders from the retailers we supply nationwide for asparagus, passion fruit, pomegranate, this past week, but strawberries in particular have almost doubled in sales over the past two days versus the same two days last week,” said Mr Donnelly.

There has also been a surge in dinner bookings as couples loosen the recession purses strings and splash out on a meal they didn’t have to cook at home.

Group bookings using the MenuPages online booking system have increased by 25% compared to last year, with more men than women responsible for booking that romantic meal for two.

Usually, throughout the year, women account for 75% of bookings on the reservations site. However, in the past week, 80% of St Valentine’s Day bookings have come from men.

Orla McDonagh of MenuPages.ie said the St Valentine’s Day was one of its busiest days of the year.

“Booking a restaurant is the least of some men’s worries, with St Valentine’s Day being one of the most likely times of the year for people to get engaged,” said Ms McDonagh. “There has been a number of requests to restaurants for bottles of champagne, flowers and music for the big moment of surprise, from nervous boyfriends preparing to pop the big question.

“We know it can be nerve-racking for the guys, so we try to make it as easy as we can and accommodate their requests.”

Meanwhile, the European Consumer Centre has told consumers to watch out for automatic renewal of memberships on dating websites.

It said some memberships may be subject to automatic renewal — at further cost to the consumer.

“Online dating is increasingly the norm for many people,” it said. “While some sites are free to use, many charge consumers a fee in order to become a member for a certain period of time and, for some sites, that may be renewed automatically unless the consumer explicitly cancels the contract.

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