New research from Kantar shows that shoppers are changing their buying behaviour to manage the cost of buying food, including turning to cheaper alternatives.

Kantar said that people are now making four fewer trips to the supermarket on average per month than they were this time last year.

Branded items – a favourite when consumers were treating themselves more during the Covid-19 lockdowns – previously made up more than 50% of grocery sales in 2020 and 2021.

“We’re now seeing clear signs that people are turning to retailers’ own-label items instead, which are usually less expensive,” said David Berry, Managing Director for Kantar Worldpanel Ireland.

“As a result, brands’ share of grocery spend has dropped to 49% in the latest 12 week period, which is equivalent to a €29m fall,” Mr Berry added.

David Berry said recent research from Kantar shows the rising cost of living is a key concern for 81% of Irish consumers, while a “staggering” 62% expect that they will have to cut back on the amount of food they buy in response to current prices.

“We’ll be seeing the effects of inflation for months to come,” he stated.

The figures from Kantar also show that take home grocery figures for Ireland fell by 6.5% in the 12 weeks to May 15 this year.

However, sales of BBQ meats, like burgers and sausages, as well as prepared salads have increased by 2% and 8% respectively in the latest 12 week period.

Soft drinks have also seen a 5% boost this period, equating to an extra €5m through supermarket tills.

“It’s likely that sales of these items will keep rising as we make the shift to more summery foods and leave the soups and stews behind, but prices are going up too. A trip to the supermarket to buy BBQ meat, salad, and soft drinks will now cost you €1 more on average in total than it would have last year,” David Berry said.

For the sixth consecutive period this year, Dunnes retained its position as the country’s biggest retailer and holds a 22.3% share of the market.

David Berry noted that sales among all the retailers are still in decline compared to lockdown last year, when people were far more reliant on supermarkets to stock up their cupboards as Covid-19 restrictions were in place in other areas of the economy.

“That said, Dunnes seems to be recovering well from the challenging Covid-19 period. The retailer’s current market share is now 1.2 percentage points higher than May 2021, boosted by 98,000 new shoppers in the latest 12 week period,” he added.

Tesco is now slightly ahead of SuperValu in the race for second place, each accounting for 21.9% and 21.7% of the market.

Tesco benefited from shoppers visiting the store more often, bucking the general market trend and allowing it to move just ahead of SuperValu, Kantar said.

Lidl holds a 13.1% market share in the period under review, while Aldi follows with a 12.2% market share.