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Food and drink prices down over 6 per cent since 2008 - Retail Ireland

Retail Ireland made the comments following the publication of a Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) report on Irish food prices – which indicated the typical cost of a basket of groceries had risen 12 per cent in the past two years.

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THE PRICE OF food and drink in Ireland has fallen six per cent since 2008, according to Retail Ireland.

The IBEC group said food inflation remains very low in Ireland, with the price of alcohol and food falling in recent years.

Retail Ireland made the comments, based on Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures, following the publication of a Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) report on Irish food prices – which said the typical cost of a basket of groceries had risen 12 per cent in the past two years.

The CAI said its latest supermarket basket survey was conducted in mid-January 2013 and found “significant price increases across a range of branded products” since it last priced these items in May 2011.

The CAI stated:

Having levelled off between 2008 and 2011, price inflation has returned in the Irish grocery sector. Taking a sample of 19 branded goods that are representative of a standard supermarket basket, the CAI found that prices have risen over the last 20 months for 16 of those products, with percentage hikes ranging from 5.5 per cent to 38 per cent.

The CAI survey also claimed Ireland’s main supermarket chains are engaging in “price matching” – saying: “Many of the items in our survey were priced identically across the four major supermarkets – Dunnes Stores, Superquinn, Supervalu and Tesco. In a trend that has continued since the 2011 survey, it seems that the supermarkets would rather match each other’s prices than try to beat them.”

However, Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam said there had been “very modest” inflation in the Irish economy, and that the CSO’s
Consumer Price Index (CPI) – which surveys over 50,000 prices taken on 632 item headings – showed that food and non-alcoholic beverage prices have fallen by 6.3 per cent since in the past five years.

“The EU Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices, which allows for international comparisons, shows that the price of food and non-alcoholic prices increased by only 0.6 per cent last year, lower than any other country in the European Union. This 0.6 per cent increase is compared to an EU average increase of 3.0 per cent and increases of 3.2 per cent in the UK,” Lynam said.

He added that Irish retailers were continuing to offer “excellent value for money, despite operating in an extremely difficult environment.”

“Consumer demand has fallen, while costs such as rents, utilities and commodity prices remain high,” he concluded.

Read: Irish processed meat product manufacturers asked to carry out DNA testing

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