Grocery inflation in Ireland reached 7.7% in the 12 weeks to 10 July 2022, recording its highest level since August 2008, according to the latest data from Kantar.
Consumer spending on take-home grocery sales fell by 3.1% in the period, slowing by 0.9% in the latest four weeks.
Inflation remained a key challenge for retailers, manufacturers and brands, with consumers opting for cheaper products to combat the impact of inflation.
However, the average price paid for each item increased by 6.3%, Kantar noted.
Emer Healy, senior retail analyst with Kantar, commented, "We are seeing rising costs on many fronts, and shoppers’ weekly grocery bill is no exception to the rule.
"Food and drink prices are continuing to climb, and the impact of this on shopping budgets is now unavoidable for many consumers."
The share of consumer spending on branded groceries declined to 47.6%, from 49.6% in 2020, with shoppers spending €72 million less on branded goods year-on-year, as they opted for less expensive, retailers’ private-label offerings.
Sales of own-label products increased by 1.5% over the 12-week period, with shoppers spending €19 million more year-on-year.
Private-label sales at Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl and online retailers grew by 21.1%, collectively, ahead of the overall own-label market, Kantar added.
Retailers’ brands now account for 46.7% of the Irish grocery market in terms of consumer spending, compared to 44% in 2020, data showed.
Shoppers opted for value ranges within private-label products and sales increased by 9.7% in the category, or by €4.8 million year-on-year.
Over the past four weeks, shoppers spent an additional €540,000 on take-home savouries, €1.5 million on soft drinks, €170,000 on chilled burgers and grills and €656,000 on fresh sausages for barbecues.
Emer Healy commented, “With a summer free of restrictions and welcomed sunshine, Irish consumers took the opportunity to gather with family and friends.”
However, the cost of hosting a barbecue has increased by 7.4% on average compared to the same period last year, Kantar noted.
In July, online grocery sales increased by 15%, with shoppers spending an additional €6.1 million compared to last year.
New online shoppers contributed an additional €4.8 million to overall spending, while online sales of own-label goods jumped by 21% in July as shoppers spent an additional €10.9 million.
With a 22% market share, Tesco emerged as Ireland's top retailer, ahead of Dunnes Stores by a narrow margin of 0.1 percentage points.
Tesco added four million additional shoppers in the latest 12-week period.
Dunnes Stores, with a market share of 21.9%, saw growth of 1.5%, driven by new shoppers contributing an additional €23.2 million to its overall sales performance.
SuperValu, with a 21.5% share, continued to see shoppers returning to its stores more often than any other retailer.
Lidl, holding 13.5% of the market, also welcomed new shoppers to its stores, which contributed an additional €13.6 million to its overall performance, Kantar added.
Aldi's market share stood at 12.6%, driven by a 1% increase in new shoppers and more return trips from existing shoppers, Kantar noted.