Food price inflation hit a new record in March as pressure on shoppers’ wallets continues to mount.
Research group Kantar reported that food price inflation in Ireland rose to 16.8 percent in the 12 weeks to March 19.
This represented an increase of 0.4 percent over the previous 12-week period.
Total sales of groceries for home use increased by 9.5 percent during this period.
In the four weeks to March 19, the value of Irish grocery sales also rose 13.3 percent, up from 10.2 percent the previous month.
Shoppers now spend an additional €119.6 million on an annual basis, Kantar reported.
Supermarkets recorded their highest footfall since March 2020 in recent weeks as consumers celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day and Ireland’s Six Nations victory.
However, Kantar attributed the increase in spending in recent weeks to the impact of rising costs on supermarket shelves.
“While value sales have increased significantly, food price inflation is still the driving factor rather than just higher spending,” said Kantar senior retail analyst Emer Healy.
“Grocery inflation continues to rise and is now at 16.8 percent, with the annual grocery bill set to rise by $1,211 if consumers don’t change their shopping habits.”
In the past year, consumers in their local supermarkets have already turned to cheaper private label alternatives in an effort to cut costs, with purchases of these private label products increasing 13.5 percent year-on-year.
Shoppers are now spending € 18 million more this year on their own brand, the cheapest range in supermarkets.
Guinness was also in high demand during the month of March, with sales up 6.7 percent.
Shoppers spent an extra €3.8 million on Easter chocolate last month.
Sales of savory snacks also increased in March and reached a total of 3.5 million euros last month.
Shoppers also stocked up on soft drinks, with total sales rising to €4.4 million last month.
Online grocery sales rose slightly over the 12-week period, up 2.6 percent.
This reflected a higher expense of €3.9 million compared to the same time last year.
This performance was driven by more frequent online orders and an increase in average prices for products.
Overall, Dunnes Stores maintained the number one position in the Irish grocery market, with a market share of 23.2 per cent.
Tesco followed with a market share of 22.1 percent, while SuperValu completed the top three with a market share of 20.6 percent.
SuperValu buyers made the most trips in the store compared to its competitors, Kantar said.
SuperValu customers averaged 21.7 trips over the 12-week period.
Lidl now has a market share of 13.3%, while competitor Aldi’s market share rose to 12.3% last month.