Fried Breakfast, Newpaper, and Garden Seeds – this is what Irish people are buying during #Lockdown

21 March 2021
By Bryan Smyth
bryan@TheCork.ie

Notable trends
  • 20% increase in sales of own brand Irish breakfast products.
  • 1,000% increase in non-alcoholic spirits and liqueurs.
  • Newspaper and magazine sales up 3% and 7.5% respectively.
  • Gardening and horticulture receive a boost with 7,000% increase in seed sales.

Centra – which is a franchise brand owned by the Cork based Musgrave Group – has recorded a significant increase in demand for breakfast foods during the pandemic, with its Inspired By product range generating almost €2m in sales through Irish producers last year.

Retail sales for products in the Irish produced Inspired By Centra breakfast range soared more than 20% in 2020 to a total of €1.9m from €1.5m the previous year, according to the latest available sales data from the leading retailer.

“At Centra, we are very pleased by the sales performance of Inspired By breakfast product range which, importantly, is all sourced from Irish producers,”

said Ian Allen, Managing Director of Centra.

“The contribution to the company of the convenience retail sector is critical, particularly in the current climate, and we are delighted to be supporting home-grown Irish producers from the four corners of the country through our Inspired By product range. Clearly, there has been a trend throughout the pandemic towards certain food products, with customers keen to experience a treat at home for a much-needed morale boost. We’re delighted that they are choosing to shop with us at Centra, and more important, are choosing to buy local and Irish in doing so.”

Supporting Irish producers

The Inspired By Centra Dry Cured Rashers 219g achieved the greatest increase, with sales volumes skyrocketing by over 8,000% when compared to 2019. Inspired By Centra pork and bacon products are supplied by Oliver Carty, a third-generation family-owned Irish business that was established in the 1950s. Based in Co. Roscommon, Oliver Carty employs more than 150 people.

Centra recorded a similarly significant increase in sales for its Inspired By Centra Mini Puddings 260g which soared by more than 5,000% in 2020. Centra’s pudding range is supplied by Loughnane’s, a fourth-generation family-owned business since 1934, employing 200 people and is based in Co. Galway.

Customers also clearly sought a vitamin-c boost throughout 2020 with sales of Inspired By Centra Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice 1ltr jumping to €404,090 from €339,872 in 2019. Inspired By Centra range of juices is supplied by Sunshine Juice, a Co. Carlow based business employing 50 people. Sunshine Juice is operated by the Walshe family since 1998.

Centra also recorded an increase in demand for eggs last year, with the Inspired By Centra Free Range Corn Fed Eggs 6pce rising 24% in 2020. Centra is supplied by Clonarn Clover, a business which employs 30 people and supports over 20 local family farms around Counties Cavan and Meath supplying free range eggs from 150,000 hens.

Finally, sausages remain a popular breakfast staple for customers, with 2020 sales of the Inspired By Centra Traditional Pork Sausages 380g totalling €185,377, up from €144,194 in 2019. Arthur Mallon Foods, which was founded in 1942, supplies Centra with a wide range of own brand sausages from the business’ base Co. Monaghan where it employs 150 people.

Other notable 2020 trends

The latest data from Centra also indicates additional significant consumer trends during 2020 that were associated with the pandemic.

The leading convenience retailer’s primary growth category was in non-alcoholic spirits and liqueurs which increased 1,000% from 2019, while non-alcoholic beer up 50%.

In 2020, newspaper sales increased 3% while magazines rose 7.5% with people enjoying more recreational time at home. In 2018 and 2019, both were declining categories.

Increased recreational time at home also led to a significant jump in the sale of gardening and horticulture products, with sales up 78% overall. Within this category, bedding and plants increased by 500% while the sale of seeds soared by 7,000%.

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