Keeping the fires burning
As the dark evenings draw in, keeping warm and cosy will be to the front of your customers’ minds and as such, it’s vital to ensure you carry the bestsellers that will fire up sales, writes Gillian Hamill
14 October 2021 | 0
With many workers now permanently working from home, for at least part of the week, ensuring they have cost-effective, quick, convenient and easy home heating solutions has become a more important considered than ever.
Last month, Ireland’s Single Electricity Market Operator (Semo) issued a further amber warning “due to a generation shortfall”. The organisation attributed “a number of reasons” for its alert issued on Thursday, 9 September, including the offline status of the plants in Whitegate in Cork Harbour and Huntstown in north Dublin, which represent 15% of conventional generation.
“Three of the four units at the Tarbert plant in north Kerry were also unavailable due to technical problems, and the output from the country’s wind farms was very low due to weather conditions,” Semo said in a press statement. The Irish Times also reported that “a number of other generators were also unavailable or had reduced capacity, while support from Britain via the East-West Interconnector was limited due to a tightness of supply there”.
These winter blackout fears have since partially eased, amid more recent industry confidence in the generators at Whitegate and Huntstown. EirGrid said it was “closely monitoring the situation,” and working to optimise its operation of the electricity grid in the short term, as well as engaging with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.
Nevertheless, the possibility of rolling blackouts will lead to shoppers stocking up on firelighting solutions as a reliable source of heating. European Union finance ministers also met earlier this month to discuss how to tackle an “unprecedented” spike in energy prices. Again, one of the consequences of these rises will be that value-for-money heating solutions, such as firelogs, firelighters, gas cylinders and spot-heating options, will be top of mind for many shoppers as we head into the winter months.
Cylinder safety at the core
As temperatures drop and the long evenings begin, many homeowners are turning on their home heating systems for longer periods of time. Homeowners need to be well prepared for the winter months; they want energy that is reliable, affordable and safe to use. Calor retailers can be confident in recommending Calor cylinders to their customers, because of the commitment the company makes to safety in its cylinders.
At Calor, safety and trust are paramount for its retailers and their customers. Over the past 80 years, Calor has been meeting the energy needs of homes and business across the island of Ireland. Throughout this time, Calor has earned a reputation for delivering the highest standards of cylinder safety in the products it offers, and those available through its extensive retailer network.
All Calor cylinders are filled by Calor, so the company can be sure of the safety of each one. Every Calor cylinder goes through a substantial and detailed seven-point mandatory safety check before it is delivered to a Calor retailer.
Calor is proud of its extensive product offering that allows customers to see the benefits of using gas, including Calor BioLPG, its 100% renewable energy, which offers customers a sustainably conscious fuel option.
For more information on becoming a Calor retailer or to see Calor’s range of mobile heaters, check out its website at www.calorgas.ie.
Bord na Móna is an Irish semi-state climate solutions company helping lead Ireland towards a climate neutral future. The business is now transitioning from a peat-based business and its focus in the consumer products area is to continue to develop and supply a more sustainable product range for use in the home heating category. Bord na Móna will continue to sell briquettes into 2024, however in parallel, the company will continue to develop a sustainable range of home heating products to meet the demand of its loyal consumers.
From a proud past to an optimistic future, Bord na Móna has a long history of innovation. Today, 70% of the products in its home heating category are more natural and sustainable.
This season Bord na Móna is launching a new Eco Firelighter. This is a natural sustainable fire starter, made with high quality natural wax and fine wood wool which is a renewable sustainably sourced wood waste product. This new ignition product is free from odour and suitable for open fires, stoves, barbecue, and garden chimeneas.
Bord na Móna has also launched its own In-house Air-Dried Wood production facility at its Kilberry plant in county Kildare. Air Dried Wood Logs offer high heat output, a long burn time, are easy to light and are also a carbon neutral fuel. The brand’s Kiln Dried Hardwood Logs with less than 20% moisture and Kiln Dried kindling are ideal for stoves and open fires. While quality and value are key purchase drivers, being easy to carry is also a key priority for shoppers and these products are readily available in convenient carry-home packs.
Many consumers are time poor and are seeking out more convenient fire heating solutions. The Bord na Móna Firelog, Quicklog and Eco-Log are designed to meet the needs of the modern-day household.
The Eco-Logs are 100% natural made from sawdust and wood chips, are clean to handle and are growing in popularity and demand with shoppers. An extension to the Eco-Log 8 is the new 12 Eco-Log format just launched this season with more choice and value for consumers. The Eco-Log is dry and easy to light, creating an odourless, fast-lighting fire. The extra fast lighting Quicklog is loved by consumers, creating the perfect base to get a fire established conveniently, cleanly, and quickly and is available to purchase in a take-home convenient box of 10.
Bord na Móna offers a tailored after sale support service to all trade customers including product specific point of sale material to help educate, advise, and support shoppers in making the right choice to suit their needs.
Further information is available from your local business development executive or contact the customer support team at 1850 744 755.
Zip is predicting an above average winter for real home fire occasions. Meanwhile, a report in The Irish Times has predicted rolling blackouts and an Irish energy crisis which will lead to more people lighting indoor fires and stoves to keep themselves warm this winter*. Consumer research has shown that having a real fire was a way to bring families together, 71% of respondents said that having a fire helped improve their mood – this rose to 77% for younger respondents. Zip believes that the fears around energy supply and Christmas get togethers suggests the category will see an uplift versus previous years.
This winter Zip will be launching a brand-new TV and radio campaign, #theresalwayszip. The campaign is all centred around reassurance in what has been an unpredictable couple of years. The TV advert will take the viewer on a journey of a young boy as he grows up and has kids of his own, who then have kids of their own. While the world around him changes, Zip and the fire has always been there. Zip will also be running a Christmas competition on its social media pages @zipfiresireland and Instagram @zip_fires_ireland coinciding with the TV and radio campaign.
To ensure Zip has something for everyone the company has continued to expand its product range. Zip launched a range of winter fuels in 2020 which included Zip Kiln Dried Wood, Kiln Dried Kindling and Smokeless Coal. This combined with its world-class firelighters means customers can buy their whole fire solution from a brand they trust.
The brand didn’t stop there and to make life even easier for busy families, it introduced the Zip Firebag, a real fire in an instant. Zip has now announced it is adding the 100% Natural Firelighter to the winter range, this is its most powerful natural firelighter. Zip’s Natural Firelighters are sustainably sourced, clean burning, odourless and have a burn time of up to 13 minutes. When your customers need to get their fire going there’s always Zip.
Q & A with… Frank Cahalan, trading controller Ireland, Standard Brands (Zip)
Q: What changes has Zip made to enhance its sustainability credentials?
A: A recent carbon footprint study at the Zip factory saw an overall reduction of 32% in GHG emissions from 2010 to 2019. We are a zero-waste factory meaning our waste is either recycled or used for energy re-consumption. In addition, an ongoing project initially developed in 2018 saw a potential saving of 5 million litres of water over five years. At the end of 2020, we have already saved over 4 million litres.
In order to offset a percentage of our carbon emissions, we have partnered with a carefully selected carbon offsetting partner to support several community projects that focus on good health, wellbeing, gender equality, education and creating jobs. Each project is part of a verified carbon reduction scheme, meaning we can confidently report our emissions being offset.
Q: Zip has continued to innovate to meet changing consumer demand with the launch of products such as Zip Kiln Dried Firewood and ZIP 100% Natural Firelighters. Why is it important for Zip to innovate in this way?
A: Zip has been around since 1936 and one of the key reasons is, we innovate; we invest in consumer research and in the category to keep ahead of trends. We listen to what consumers tell us and we know that the next generation are looking for more sustainable solutions, which we can provide.
Q: How does Zip’s portfolio meet the current major trends in the fuel category? Are there plans to expand your product portfolio in the pipeline
A: As the category leader we pride ourselves in growing the fire care category for our customers and consumers. We know that times and trends are always moving, therefore, we ensure we have a robust NPD pipeline to meet changing consumer demands. Our current portfolio offers something for everyone, whether someone’s lighting their fire every day to keep the heat and hot water going or a busy family looking for convenient and quick-fire solutions.
Q: How is Zip currently performing in sales terms, and what are the key factors behind this result?
A: Zip has gained +5pts of retail € share of total fire care in the latest 12 weeks to 12 September. Zip continues to be the number one brand in Ireland showing growth year on year with all customers. This growth is driven by a number of factors including strong relationships with customers, NPD, and entering new categories such as winter fuel.
Q: What do Zip’s marketing plans for the coming year look like?
A: Throughout the year we invest significant resources behind the marketing of our Zip brand. This Winter we have teamed up again with Guerillascope Ireland to bring you a brand-new TV campaign called #theresalwayszip, while the world changes around us there’s always Zip. Running alongside the TV campaign we will also be launching a new radio ad featuring Hector Ó hEochagáin as the voice over. To keep up to date on the latest goings on at Zip, to get an early sneak peak of the TV and radio ad and for Christmas competition and more follow us online at Facebook @zipfiresireland and Instagram @zip_fires_ireland.
Perfect spot-heating solution
As customers look set to divide their working lives between the office and home this winter, Flogas Superser heaters are the perfect solution to spot heat the homeworking space. Cosy, portable and convenient, Flogas Supersers remove the need to turn on the entire heating system while working from home.
Retailers are always seeking cost-effective solutions to help their customers to control their home heating bills and Flogas portable gas heaters are recognisable and proven bestsellers. The contemporary and stylish heaters are also fit with easy glide castors for trouble-free moving from room to room.
“Flogas Superser heaters are extremely useful as an instant, economic and portable way to ‘spot-heat’ a room quickly, as many customers find it far cheaper than turning on the central heating for an hour or two,” says Eoin O’Flynn of Flogas Ireland, the exclusive distributor for Superser in Ireland and the UK.
Flogas retailers benefit from complete access to the company’s range of cylinders, from butane, propane and patio gas, to its exclusive Gaslight cylinders. Contact Flogas today on 041 214 9600 to speak to your local cylinder representative and arrange a no obligation meeting to discuss your needs.