According to the Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) latest tracking survey of a branded basket of goods, the recession has made little impact in terms of driving prices down.
Taking the average prices of 19 goods, the study found that the 2014 basket comes in at €41.95 — up 89c (2.16%) on the 2013 basket.
Across the 19 products tracked, the average price of just two items — Kerrygold butter and Brennans sliced white pan — remain unchanged since 2013.
Four items saw small price reductions — notably Kellogg’s corn flakes which dropped by 11c (4%) over the past year.
The average prices of the remaining 13 products all rose since last year, ranging from less than 1% to 13%.
Seven of the 19 products were priced identically across Dunnes Stores, Tesco and SuperValu, while a further eight products were priced equally in two of the three retailers.
On the days the survey was conducted, the CAI found that Dunnes Stores offered the best value for the basket of branded items, with a total cost of €39.96. Dunnes was also found to be the most likely to match prices with one of the other retailers or offer a lower price.
The cost of the Tesco basket came to €40.43, while SuperValu came in at €40.92
In line with other research in the area, the study found that own-brand goods were becoming increasingly popular amongst cash-strapped consumers and that price reductions of up to 40% could be had if people went for own-brand offerings instead of branded goods.
“The substantial savings that can be made for opting for the supermarkets’ private label products may mean that the cost of brand loyalty is too high for many consumers struggling to manage ever-tightening budgets...The real competition in the grocery market today may, in fact, be among own-brand products,” said the survey.
A National Consumer Agency survey in August of last year highlighted a growing perception that the quality of supermarket own-brand products is improving, with more than half of those surveyed stating they were more inclined to purchase ownbrand products compared to the previous year.
Commenting on the research findings, chief executive of the CAI Dermott Jewell said it was clear that the recession was not putting any real pressure on the major retailers to reduce their prices.
“The worst financial setback in the lives of the majority of those average consumers and their families has not resulted in brand price reduction of any great significance which will require the Irish consumer to be determinedly price-aware and demanding of quality — at affordable prices,” he said.