With one in five adults expecting to spend more this Christmas compared to what they spent last year*, it’s essential to make sure you’re fully stocked up with all the trimmings so they can tick off everything on their shopping list – as well as a few inspired extras, writes Gillian Hamill
1 December 2021 | 0
Demonstrating the immense importance of the Christmas season to the FMCG sector, Kantar figures showed that take-home grocery sales in Ireland rose by 17.0% in the 12 weeks to 27 December 2020. In fact, a record-breaking €1.2 billion was spent on groceries in December last year, making it the busiest month ever.
“As an extraordinary year drew to a close, the average shopper spent €134 more on groceries in December than they did last year,” said Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar. “Wednesday, 23 December was the busiest shopping day of the year when almost half of the Irish population hit the supermarkets,” she added. “But overall grocery spend was more spread out during the run up to Christmas than we’d normally expect to see, as consumers with more time on their hands at home took the opportunity to prepare early.”
Not a traditional Christmas
Fewer guests to host meant a smaller scale feast and shoppers spent €1.2 million less on whole turkeys over the four weeks to 27 December compared with the same period in 2019. “The traditional turkey was off the menu for many,” Healy added, “as lots of Irish households favoured smaller cuts of meat. In a break from the norm, we spent €938,000 more on turkey rolls, €398,000 extra on roast beef and an additional €480,000 on roast pork in December. However, some classic festive favourites prevailed and sales of sprouts were up by 7.3%.
“Although not a traditional Christmas, shoppers still endeavoured to make it a merry one and to treat themselves after a tough year,” she continued. “Our collective sweet tooth saw an extra €6.7 million spent on chocolate confectionery during December. We also parted with €3 million extra on cheese and, as we all raised a glass to the end of 2020, alcohol sales soared by 33%.”
Shoppers trading up resulted in an additional €1.6 billion spent on branded products in 2020 while sales of premium own label items soared by 17.8% over the 12-week period. “Supporting Irish was the order of the day,” said Healy, “and both Keoghs and Avonmore grew ahead of the market over the festive period.”
Online sales up
Rounding out a strong year for online grocery, Irish households spent €133 million through digital channels during the 12-week period. “The popularity of online grocery shopping is no flash in the pan,” Healy said, “and digital orders accounted for 4.1% of all grocery sales in December 2020. That figure was only 2.8% in December 2019, hammering home an impressive year in terms of sales and capacity growth.” She also noted that while new shoppers continue to make the move online, Kantar also expected digital sales to go from strength to strength in the year ahead.
Research by Visa also showed that online shopping is likely to represent a higher percentage of sales compared to previous years, with 40% of Irish Visa cardholders who didn’t shop online before the pandemic, now doing so.
Christmas 2021 trends
While last year obviously saw smaller family gatherings on Christmas Day, research conducted by Tesco Ireland, shows that one in 10 (12%) people say they’ll be expanding the dining table this year as they will have nine or more guests.
Tesco Ireland’s annual ‘Christmas Trends Research’ examines the habits and behaviours of Irish consumers during the Christmas period and highlights new trends and insights within the Irish marketplace.
Following another year of uncertainty, the Tesco consumer trends research for 2021 looks to hone-in-on Christmas traditions and rituals to understand what ignites the festive spirit across the nation. This year, travel is a key feature within the research as families look forward to reuniting with loved ones from near and far, Tesco reported.
Tesco’s research showed retro recipes are in, as half of the respondents (50%) said they typically source their Christmas dinner recipes from a traditional family recipe passed down through generations. Millennials are confirmed as the main generation to dish out a delicacy from the past with (61%) of those aged 25-34 most likely to use a traditional family recipe passed down through generations
The research also showed this festive season will be a Christmas of reunions! Over 3 in 10 (31%) adults say they will have family members travelling to be with them this Christmas, with more than one in ten adults (14%) saying they will have family members travelling from abroad. A long time coming for nearly one quarter (24%) of respondents who say it has been more than a year since they last saw this person.
A festive feast is in store for most households this year with almost three quarters (74%) of adults expecting there to be between three and 8 people at the dinner table for Christmas dinner, with 12% saying they will have nine or more.
Spending on the rise
Spending habits are set to soar this Christmas as the Irish consumer looks to make the best out of Christmas for 2021. In fact, one in five (20%) adults expect to spend more this Christmas compared to what they spent last year. When it comes to spending on Christmas gifts this year, 23% of Irish consumers plan to spend between €101 – €200 with a similar proportion (21%) saying that they plan to spend €201 – €500
Eco-conscious shoppers are prioritising the planet this season as sustainability takes centre stage. As the environmentally conscious shoppers prepare for the festive season, the planet is kept in mind amongst 6 in 10 (55%) adults who say that sustainability will be a factor in their decision process when purchasing gifts this Christmas.
When it comes to practising sustainability this Christmas just over half (51%) of adults will be cutting down food waste, a 3% increase from last year. Shopping local has also grown in popularity with over four in 10 (43%) planning to shop locally for gifts in comparison to last year (38%).
Amongst those who plan to cut down on food waste this year, just over six in 10 will do so by buying less food overall (62%) or by making better use of leftovers (61%), a statistic that has remained the same since 2020.
“What our research tells us is that after the last year the people of Ireland are excited that Christmas is back and are determined to enjoy the festive season. Traditions continue to play an integral role in households as families look forward to reuniting with their loved ones and making up for lost time,” Cathal Deavy, marketing director, Tesco Ireland.
Encouragingly, 81% of consumers believe buying Irish is important*. According to research reported by Guaranteed Irish and IE, the Christmas trading period represents the largest sales opportunity for 33% of Irish SMEs.
*(Source: Tesco Ireland’s annual ‘Christmas Trends Research’)
**(Source: IE Digital Health Index)
Melt into a moment of bliss
Maintaining its position as the number one boxed chocolate brand, Lindt Lindor continues to outperform the market growing double digit +36.9% and holding a market share of 19.7%*. Lindor’s success comes not only from the brand’s much-loved classic Lindor Milk recipe but also through its continual innovations to the market that are guaranteed to excite and delight your shoppers.
With a wide range of exciting and delectable flavours as well as formats, Lindt Lindor is the perfect chocolate gift for any occasion. This Christmas, consumers can experience bliss with a variety of flavours, from the smooth melting moment of Lindor Milk to the blissful taste of Lindor Salted Caramel. The Lindt master chocolatiers are dedicated to producing the finest chocolates and recipes of the highest quality to delight taste buds.
Consumers can share the bliss with the Lindor Chocolate Truffles Assorted Tin. With six blissful varieties included, there’s a flavour for everyone: from classic Milk, White and Extra Dark truffles, or the irresistible Hazelnut, Milk & White or Salted Caramel. The Lindor Assorted Tin is the perfect chocolate selection to make sharing this Christmas truly special.
Also returning this Christmas is the limited edition Lindor Milk & White. Lindt master chocolatiers have taken the smoothest melting white chocolate and enrobed it in the finest milk chocolate to create Lindor Milk & White. With a unique recipe and taste profile that only Lindor can deliver, Milk & White looks certain to be a massive hit again this Christmas.
As market leaders, Lindt will deliver a massively upweighted national support plan this Christmas behind the Lindor brand, with Lindor TV advertising returning to screens from October and a strong push in-store with premium point of sale and display.
With a format for every occasion, give your shoppers the gift of bliss this Christmas: Lindor from Lindt!
*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack total market excl. discounters MAT latest 52 weeks to 10th October 2021)
Bringing life’s simple pleasures
Denny has been bringing home the bacon for over 200 years – ever since Henry Denny first invented the rasher. Since then, the company has been bringing simple, honest and great tasting food to families all over Ireland. Henry Denny’s innovative ways have stood the test of time, evident through Denny remaining a leader in many of the categories it operates within, such as ‘rashers’ which has grown +13% MAT*. For Denny, it’s an honour to be a staple within so many Irish households – from the weekly fry and bacon baps, to the clean plates and smiling faces, Denny brings life’s simple pleasures to families.
Denny has enjoyed a fantastic year growing the overall brand, market share and helping retail partners grow their categories. Denny holds leading positions across all categories it operates within, including being the number one brand in sliced cooked meats*. Denny sliced cooked meats are growing (+9%) ahead of the category (+3%) and now hold a 11% market share. As a family lunchtime favourite, ‘Only Denny Will Do’ when it comes to ham, and the innovative brand hasn’t yet finished perfecting its recipes; 2021 saw Denny introduce new variants as well as new flavours.
Denny continues to evolve into completely new spaces with the recent launch of its Meat Free Bacon and Meat Free Chicken and Ham Style Slices. Denny is the fastest growing chilled meat free brand with the number one chilled meat free product with its Denny Meat Free Sausages**.
*(Source: Nielsen IOI Data up to 20/6/21)
**(Source: Dunnhumby ROI up to 14/2/21)
When Santa arrives in Irish households to leave presents under the tree this year, he’ll be expecting something a little more sumptuous than the standard carrot and cookie! Cuisine de France, Ireland’s most beloved bakery brand, has released a limited-edition seasonal range including festive favourites such as the Mince Pie and Mince Crown, seasonal muffins and the unique Apple and Custard Strudel.
Another twist on a traditional dessert of the season, the Cuisine de France range includes a rich Brandy Mince Puff, made with buttery puff pastry and a sweet and lightly spiced fruit filling. A drop of brandy and dusting of sugar on top perfects the pastry.
Commenting on the launch of the festive range, Shane Vaughan, head of marketing at Aryzta Food Solutions, said: “We are delighted to bring the Cuisine de France Christmas range to market and pleasantly surprise our customers by adding a new twist to some of their favourite festive treats.”
Smoothly does it
‘Great Coffee for Everyone’ is at the core of Seattle’s Best Coffee’s mission. While everybody’s different in the kind of coffee they prefer, many are similar when it comes to convenience, great taste and fantastic value. Seattle’s Best Coffee says its range of beverages offers something for everyone, providing you with the opportunity to satisfy existing customers, reach new ones and grow sales.
As we head into the festive season, Seattle’s Best Coffee features two great flavours to enhance your coffee experience. With both Hazelnut and Gingerbread syrups, further flavour can now be added to your shoppers’ favourite beverage. With flavoured beverages making up to 10% of the mix, it is important to have this offering for your consumers. Christmas would not be Christmas without a festive compostable cup and Seattle’s Best Coffee has a new design in both 12oz and 16oz sizes. With holiday themed icons and snowflakes dotted around the cup, this emphasizes the holiday season and forms a full picture with the signature skyline.
Gifting made easy
Premium Snack brand, Forest Feast has launched three new gifting packs for Christmas 2021. Handcrafted in Co. Armagh, using only the finest Belgian chocolate, the three-strong range come in a luxury gift tube making them perfect as a last-minute gift, teacher present or stocking filler.
According to Mintel*, 41% of buyers cited high-quality ingredients are the key purchase driver when people buy chocolate as a gift.
The range comprises of:
Salted Dark Chocolate Almonds: Oven roasted skin-on Almonds, drenched in Belgian dark chocolate, with a sprinkling of salt and a dusting of cocoa. A rich, intense sweet-salty experience. (Vegan, gluten free)
Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Almonds: Sweet caramelised air-roasted Almonds with a hint of sea salt are dipped in creamy milk chocolate. They are an irresistibly moreish treat! (Vegetarian, gluten free)
Valencia Orange Dark Chocolate Hazelnuts: Oven roasted hazelnuts smothered in rich dark chocolate with a burst of zesty Valencia Orange for a rich symphony of flavours. (Vegan, gluten free)
The products are all gluten free, vegetarian/vegan friendly and are available to order now. All products come in six x 140g shelf-ready boxes with RRSP €6.
For further information, contact email@example.com.
To delight your shoppers this festive season, make sure to stock Lily O’Brien’s range of mouthwateringly delicious chocolates. All made in Ireland and crafted using signature Lily O’Brien’s chocolate, this delicious range offers the perfect selection to meet your shoppers’ gifting needs this Christmas.
Brand new this Christmas, Lily O’Brien’s Chocolate Collection is an ideal gift for your customers to really impress with this festive season. This generous collection of 26 chocolates with nine delicious recipes is strikingly stylish and sure to suit all tastes and have them reaching for more.
Recipes included are Salted Caramel, Simple Chocolate, Zesty Lemon Truffle, Truffle Decadence, Coffee and Almond Biscotti, Raspberry Roulade, Sticky Toffee, Roasted Almond Square and Gianduja. Available in all major retailers nationwide (€13.95)
The best-selling and much-loved Desserts Collection (230g, €10) is a must-stock for the festive season. This collection which includes some of the world’s most loved dessert recipes, including Hazelnut Torte, Raspberry Infusion and Banoffee Pie, is the perfect accompaniment to any dinner table or get together with family and friends and is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Also available and only for a limited period only this festive season is Lily O’Brien’s Winter Desserts Collection (€10.00). With six winter dessert themed recipes including a Festive Crème Brulee, Spiced Latte and Winter Berry Eton Mess, Winter Desserts these chocolates are sure to ignite that festive mood and make the perfect choice to gift or share during any catch up with family and friends.
Lily O’Brien’s Gift-Wrapped collections include the Ultimate Collection (€10) and the Petit Desserts Collection (€10), which are perfect for gifting on-the-go this Christmas.
For that extra special gift, shoppers need look no further than Lily O’Brien’s Exquisite Collection (138g). This luxurious collection of 14 unique recipes combines exotic ingredients from far-flung locations, with simple riches from the Irish countryside. From almond and cranberry, to blueberry truffle, the Exquisite Edition delivers a journey of taste like no other, and is sure to delight with every bite (€8.49).
Lily O’Brien’s chocolates are available in stores nationwide and you can also view the full range online at www.lilyobriens.ie.
Lir Chocolates, the luxurious chocolate brand, proudly made in Meath since 1987, has launched an exciting new range of gift boxes bringing together their most-loved chocolates to add delight and joy to every occasion.
The innovative Irish chocolatier is also celebrating introducing the first plastic-free chocolate gift boxes to Irish shelves. Lir Chocolates, a Gold member of Origin Green, has made this welcome move to plastic-free packaging as part of its journey to become fully sustainable across all its packaging and ingredients within the next five years.
The Lir Chocolates Occasions Collection (230g, €11 RRP) contains 22 mouth-watering chocolates with seven stunning varieties including the ‘Sea Salt & Caramel Affair’, ‘Mint Moment’, ‘Crunchy Nut Novelty’ and the ‘Valencia Orange Crunch’.
The beautiful, eye-catching blue box has a kraft paper interior, which unfolds to reveal the beautiful hand-crafted chocolates, is guaranteed to bring a smile and spread joy every time. The Lir Chocolates Occasions Collection is available in Tesco, Dunnes, Supervalu, Donnybrook Fair, Nolans and for delivery direct to homes from www.lirchocolates.com.
The Lir Lovely Collection (110g, €6 RRP) contains 16 luxurious chocolates with four fabulous flavours, ‘Milky Smooth Truffle’, ‘Intensely Raspberry’, Sea Salted Caramel Truffle’ and a ‘Crunchy Milk Chocolate’. The gorgeous green colour gift box also has a kraft paper interior making it innovatively plastic-free and fully sustainable.
A perfect thank you gift for that someone special or simply for some well-deserved, deliciously indulgent me-time, the Lir Lovely Collection is stocked in SuperValu, Donnybrook Fair, Nolans and available for home delivery from www.lirchocolates.com.
“At Lir, we are in love with chocolate, spreading joy with our wonderfully, delicious chocolate creations is at the heart of everything we do,” says Katie Byrne, senior brand manager, Lir Chocolates.
“The Lir Occasions and Lovely Gift Boxes are collections of our most-loved chocolates and we’re thrilled with the reaction so far,” she adds. “For over 30 years we’ve been focusing on using natural ingredients to develop our winning combinations. We’re delighted to now extend this focus on natural to our packaging, offering customers the option to go plastic-free and fully sustainable at every gifting occasion.”
The wider Lir Chocolates range is also available from Supervalu, Centra, selected Tesco and Eurospar Stores nationwide and Dublin and Cork Airports. You can shop online at www.lirchocolates.com and join the conversation online @LirChocolates.
Gold Star taste
Porter & Nash is delighted to announce that its sauces, which can be used for cooking, pouring or used as a base for creating other sauces have scooped Gold Star Awards at the renowned Great Taste Awards 2021. Both the Caramelised Onion & Balsamic Sauce and the Slow Roasted Garlic & Thyme Sauce received Gold Stars. Porter & Nash’s gravy and sauce range provides a tasty edge to home cooked meals everywhere, whether they be meat-based, vegetarian or vegan. The brand has seen demand for its gourmet sauces grow as consumers experiment more in the kitchen and test their taste buds.
Porter & Nash is an Irish food company founded by chefs Gavin Cassidy and Eoin Lennon in 2018. Their unique plant-based range offers nutritional and flavoursome gravies and cooking sauces suitable for all cuisines and diets which are produced from Irish sourced ingredients, including Kombu Kelp seaweed from the Irish west coast. The Porter & Nash approach to cooking celebrates a balanced diet that makes the most of the flavour and quality of naturally grown sustainable Irish foods. Porter & Nash is based in Tallaght, Co. Dublin. For more information, visit www.porterandnash.com.
Following last year’s positive reception, Nestlé Ireland is bringing back Starbucks holiday favourites this festive season for Irish consumers to enjoy from the comfort of their homes.
Exclusive to the season, the Starbucks at-home limited edition products include five favourites in two festive flavours to help consumers get into the merry spirit: rich and buttery Toffee Nut Latte and the Holiday Blend, a balanced and sweet coffee with herbal and maple notes.
The Starbucks Toffee Nut Latte is available in ‘By Nescafé Dolce Gusto’ capsules and Premium Instant Coffee varieties. Meanwhile, the Starbucks Holiday Blend comes in ‘By Nespresso’ capsules, Roast & Ground and Whole Bean varieties.
All products come in red packaging inspired by Starbucks’ iconic red cup, which was launched more than 20 years ago to mark the arrival of the festive season.
Coffee fans can get their hands on the festive Starbucks at-home products online and from major supermarkets, including Tesco, Dunnes Stores, and SuperValu.
“We are very excited to bring back the Starbucks holiday range for our fans this season,” says Carol Anne Deasy, Starbucks marketing manager at Nestlé Ireland.
“We know how much people love Starbucks festive coffee and we want to bring some of that ‘Starbucks holiday magic’ home for everyone to enjoy.
“The products were incredibly popular last year, and we hope that this year even more Starbucks fans can savour their favourite festive coffees at home.”
Since forming the Global Coffee Alliance in 2018, Nestlé and Starbucks have brought to market a wide range of premium coffee products at a fast pace, including whole bean coffees, premium instant/soluble coffees, roast and ground coffees as well as the Starbucks capsules developed using Nespresso and Nescafé Dolce Gusto proprietary coffee and system technologies.
Nestlé and Starbucks continue to work closely together to develop new, innovative products and go-to-market strategies that will amplify the reach and expand the unique experience of the Starbucks brand globally.
Perfect plant-based alternative
Following on from its sell-out success last year, Irish meatless meat brand Thanks Plants has launched its Festive Roast for 2021 which is crammed with Christmas flavours and available from a wider range of stockists.
With almost one third of Irish people choosing either a flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan diet, there is a requirement to offer more than the traditional turkey and ham at Christmas in order to satisfy the tastes of all diners at the table. The Thanks Plants Festive Roast is ideal for this, an artisan product made from premium wholesome ingredients, bursting with delicious flavours and the perfect alternative to a stuffed turkey crown.
“We completely sold out of the Festive Roast last year and we probably could have sold double the amount,” the brand reports. “As a result, we have increased production this year and the Festive Roast is now available in a wider range of stockists including SuperValu and Tesco stores. It also works great as leftovers – just like a turkey or ham sandwich.”
The Festive Roast features a delicious gourmet stuffing made with mushrooms, chestnuts and cranberries. The meatless meat part is a mix of seitan flour, pearl barley, cannellini beans, vegetables, herbs and spices.
The Festive Roast retails at €19.95 and at 1kg, serves 5-6 people.
Secure and trusted gifting solution
Christmas is on everyone’s minds a little earlier than normal this year — and Me2You gift cards are here to help consumers get ready for the holiday season with the perfect gifting solution.
Irish owned and operated, Me2You gift cards support Irish retail and shopping local — which is more important than ever, particularly during these uncertain times.
The gift card can be used in more than 5,000 local stores across the country, including; Smyths Toys, Arnotts, Penneys, Brown Thomas, H&M, River Island, Harvey Norman, CompuB, Currys PC World, Boots, M&S, TK Maxx plus so many more. The large selection of retail partners means that there is something for everyone, whether it is used for everyday essentials or more luxury purchases.
It can also be used in more than 1,000 online stores, meaning shoppers can get everything they’re looking for safely delivered right to their door.
A Me2You gift card is also the ideal solution for your corporate gifting needs, be it for staff or clients. Employers can reward their staff for all their hard work this year with a Me2You gift card of up to €500 tax-free. It’s also a great way to wish clients a ‘happy holidays!’.
The only Guaranteed Irish multi-store card, a Me2You gift card is a secure and trusted gifting solution this holiday season — making it even easier for anyone looking to give the gift of choice this Christmas.
Me2You gift cards are sold through the Payzone agent network, if would like to sell Me2You gift cards, purchase Me2You gift cards or require more information, visit me2you.ie, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 5542000.
Perfect for any meal occasion
2020 was a year of massive achievements for the Aunt Bessie’s brand. In addition to its beloved Yorkshire Puddings, Aunt Bessie’s expanded its product portfolio to include Chips, French Fries, Wedges, & Roasties.
Now, just in time for the holiday season, Aunt Bessie’s is releasing two more products, perfect for any meal occasion. Aunt Bessie’s Mini Roasties and Stuffing Balls are starting to hit shelves and are great additions to any shopping basket. Mini Roasties are crispy as ever and are bite-sized making them ideal for any mid-week meal. Stuffing Balls come in a convenient 310g pack which make these easy to prepare accompaniments an irresistible choice.
Field to fork favourites
Mash Direct (www.mashdirect.com), the award-winning ‘field-to-fork’ vegetable accompaniments brand has launched new Christmas themed packaging in time for the Christmas period. The family-owned business offers a diverse range of vegetable sides dishes that it is confident will help boost your profits during the festive season.
This Christmas, Mash Direct is offering its retailers the perfect seasonal side dishes to bring back the spirit of Christmas to the dinner table. Its vegetable sides are the perfect accompaniment for a range of festive eating occasions, giving consumers a hassle-free Christmas with more time to spend with loved ones and less time in the kitchen.
Mash Direct offers a range of products including traditional family favourites, from new Roasted Root Vegetables and Honey Glazed Parsnips to Roast Potatoes which can be cooked to perfection in the oven in under 30 minutes. Mash Direct’s signature Mashed Potato, Red Cabbage & Beetroot and heritage Carrot & Parsnip can be cooked in the microwave in less than five minutes, freeing up valuable oven space for the turkey.
“It is now more important than ever to bring people together as best we can this Christmas,” says Lance Hamilton, chief commercial officer at Mash Direct. “Our Christmas range is set to be a hit for all this year’s festive occasions. Due to the convenience of the products and short preparation time, even those who don’t usually cook at Christmas can produce fresh, fun, and festive spreads for everybody to enjoy.”
BWG Foodservice unveils Christmas brochure
BWG Foodservice unveiled its Christmas brochure for the 2021 festive season at Catex 2021, Ireland’s largest foodservice and hospitality show.
Packed with added-value products for customers, the latest BWG Foodservice Christmas Brochure includes a full range of chilled, frozen, ambient, disposables and seasonal ranges to get any commercial kitchen through this year’s festivities.
“Central to our offering is the unwavering commitment to supporting local Irish suppliers, ensuring that the provenance of products across the Christmas range is readily accessible to the more discerning customers, including vegan and gluten free options,” says Ricky O’Brien, BWG Foodservice director.
“Of course, firm favourites are always popular, such as our BWG exclusive beef brand, Glasan Farm. Similarly, when it comes to treating ourselves over the festive season, we ensure we offer the latest seasonal trends and delectable desserts and bakery products through our relationships with Wexford’s Coolhull Farm, Dublin’s Mannings & Fusco Foods and Carlow-based bakery, Seery’s, whose exclusive Chef’s Kitchen Christmas pudding log dessert is a personal favourite.”
Established in 2001, BWG Foodservice supplies ‘everything needed to run a successful foodservice business’, from gourmet food ingredients, chilled food, frozen food and ambient to alcohol and non-food products like catering supplies and catering disposables.