Last winter was the longest,coldest and most intense Irelandhas experienced in a generation.For that reason, retailers should be looking ahead and expecting bumper sales once the cold really sets in this year, so here are the fireplace products consumers will be seeking
16 October 2018
The changing of seasons in Ireland is as sure as the sun rising, but – as we learned the hard way several times during 2018 – exactly when that change comes is a different matter altogether. While the coming winter is not likely to feature the same extreme cold and snow we saw back in March, dropping temperatures bring with them increased demand for fire lighting products. Firelighters, coal, briquettes and other innovations are a key part of any retailer’s winter stock, so read on to learn what is out there and what will suit your store and your customers best.
Celebrating Irish heroes
By working with Age Action this year, Zip found this partnership really highlighted the willingness to help others among Irish communities. With these people in mind, this winter Zip is celebrating Irish heroes, those in the community that don’t get praised often but are always there when you need them.
Zip has been a hero for many families since 1936, lighting first time every time no matter the season. The brand launched its Irish hero campaign at the National Ploughing Championships last month, with unprecedented success. Consumers have embraced the campaign, nominating their Irish hero in exchange for a Zip hero product. Zip hero products include the Starterlog, Fire Sticks, Fast & Clean Wrapped Firelighters and High Performance Original Firelighters.
Supporting the campaign is national TV advertising which runs this winter alongside social media activity, where again the brand is looking for nominations and compelling stories of Irish heroic acts. These will be rewarded with a winter supply of Zip hero products.
In addition to the Irish heroes campaign, Zip is launching a winter fuel range in the form of three new products: Smokeless Coal, Kiln Dried Wood Logs and Irish Willow Logs.
These fuels expand the category for Zip and will make it more convenient for consumers, they can pick up fuel and ignition products from the same store location, saving time.
Innovative and convenient
Over the past 80 years, Bord na Móna has led the way in convenient and innovative solid fuel solutions, bringing the comfort and magic of a real fire into Irish homes. Of course, it all started with the Peat Briquette, a traditional part of Irish heritage. They are easy to light, have a long burn time and are suitable for stoves and open fires.
With sales of over 12 million bales last year, they remain a firm favourite of Irish fireplaces today.
Last season, the business introduced Peat Nuggets in a 20kg convenient size bag and the product is growing in demand and popularity with consumers. A reliable and consistent high quality fuel, it is perfect for a fast, warm fire with a bright golden flame and that distinctive peat smell.
Meanwhile, Bord na Móna’s high quality, sustainably sourced Kiln Dried Hardwood logs, kindling, 100% Natural Eco logs and Air Dried logs are available in convenient carry home packs. Easy to stack and display, the full range includes the originalFirelog, Stove Log and premium Firelighters, all readily available to meet the needs of the modern-day household.
Bord na Móna aims to continue investment in innovative and convenient solid fuel solutions for Irish consumers. These customers can also avail of a tailored after sales support service including product-specific signage and point of sale material to support its products and help consumers make the right choices for their needs.
Also available is a range of ‘How to’ videos, particularly helpful for the new novice fire user in how to get started and build the perfect fire. For further information, contact your local business development executive or call customer support at 1850 744 755.
After the launch of the Homestead brand in 1986, the Firelighter range quickly became a staple product within the brand’s portfolio, generating considerable sales in this category.
Itis estimated that Homestead Firelighter sales account for 53% of the total firelighter sales within symbol groups and independent retailers, while rivalling the two leading brands in Ireland.
The Homestead fuels range consists of two SKUs of Firelighters, 30s and 60s and the Firelog, which was introduced to the range in early 2005.
With increasing competition on fire logs in the Irish market, a full pricing review of the Homestead Firelog took place. The company has since proudly announced a trade price reduction on its 700g log which allows a continuous four for €5 (RSP) while maintaining a healthy margin for the retailer.
“We are delighted that in times of rising costs we can pass on this price reduction to our retailers around the country,” says Homestead brand manager Janice Gibney.
The heart of the business
Over the past 80 years, Calor has become a household name across the island of Ireland, powering communities with a clean, reliable and cost-effective fuel. Calor is the fuel of choice for homes and businesses across the country who are not connected to the national gas network. With that in mind, the brand owes its success to the retailers who have supported the business over the years.
Establishing the best working relationship possible with retailers is Calor’s priority. The objective is to support the growth of its retail partners’ businesses by providing marketing and PR support to help celebrate wins and publiciseinnovation. Calor also facilitates health and safety training to its partners. All Calor cylinders go through mandatory checks before they are delivered to the retail network. Calor knows the importance of reputation and always aims to ensure that retailers can stand over the quality and safety of the Calor products they sell. In addition to the iconic yellow cylinders, Calor now offers an innovative selection of lightweight cylinders which have proven very popular with customers.
Meanwhile, this year saw Calor launch Ireland’s very first renewable gas, BioLPG. Calor is taking a lead in providing renewable energy options to Irish consumers, and its retail partners are playing a fundamental role in making that happen. For more information on becoming a Calor retailer, contact 1850 812 850.
Cosy and cost-effective
Consumer demand for more efficient fuels is growing, in particular for use in stoves. That is why Bcosy, manufactured in Wellingtonbridge, Co. Wexford, has become a household favourite. Customers have been attracted to Bcosy products because they are clean, convenient and easy to handle.
On top of this, they are environmentally friendly, offer good value for money and are guaranteed Irish. Bcosy briquettes are made from a specially developed mix of hardwoods, softwoods and oilseed rape straw. This optimum blend contains just 10-12% moisture compared to 30-40% of other fuel types and solid timber logs. They also act as a direct replacement for traditional coal or peat briquettes.
They come in bales of six and 12, and are made from compressed wood/straw. Their shape and weight make them ideal for adding to open fires and stoves. Generating only a small amount of ash, they save time and energy cleaning out the fire when required.
They are suitable for use in any appliance; wood-burning or multi-fuel stoves, along with conventional fireplaces and open grates. Unlike other brands which add a fire accelerant, here the briquettes ignite when used with a fire lighter due to the optimum mix and low moisture content.
As the product also produces less smoke than traditional fuels, making them more environmentally friendly, and above all the briquettes generate great heat.
Since its launch in 2011, Bcosy has steadily grown its sales through independent outlets year-on-year. Growth is expected to increase by 25-30% in the next 12 to 14 months.
Also available are Bcosy Firelighters made from natural renewable, untreated wood shavings dipped in paraffin wax. They are odourless, easy to light, clean and convenient and serve to complement its eco-friendly briquette.
To learn more or place an order, visit www.bcosywoodbriquettes.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The departure of Tedcastles from the coal trade last year, along with the liquidation of Galtee Fuels Ltd underlines the challenges facing the solid fuel trade. It is a time of change, however, and Stafford Coal is spearheading that change.
This year, Stafford Coal completed its first full year of trading with its new €3 million ovoid plant in New Ross, Co. Wexford. The company says it is very pleased with operations for the year and its flagship ovoid product Superglow Xtra gained significant market share in the 100% smokeless ovoid market. The company is looking forward to further developing the new plant and its existing and new products over the coming years.
2018 was a strong year for the home heating sector, given the unprecedented weather that saw winter stretch all the way into April. For the first time in many years, the trade recorded an increase in volumes, although margins were still squeezed as they have been for the last few years.
This is a time of change for smokeless fuel, with policy changes set to promote their use even further. In late 2017, Minister Naughten announced a nationwide ban on bituminous coal to become law in September of this year, with 12 months to sell existing stock. That means no bituminous coal can be legally sold or put on the market after 1 September, 2019.
Naughten has reiterated that stance several times in recent months. Brexit is just around the corner too, and of course, nobody can predict the consequences of that. Stafford Coal says the solid fuel trade must take the initiative and persuade customers of the value and quality of smokeless fuel.
Every effort should be made to communicate to customers that a) solid fuel can give the same or better heat value over a longer period of time and b) it is much better for the environment (75% less smoke and particulate matter emissions). The trade must make smokeless fuel the fuel of choice for a lower emissions future. Time to embrace the future – a smokeless future.
Retail customers are always seeking cost-effective solutions to help their customers to control their home heating bills and Flogas Superser heaters are a recognisable and proven bestseller. The new look, contemporary and stylish Flogas Superser Radiant is also fitted with easy glide castors for trouble-free moving from room to room.
“Flogas Superser heaters are the perfect solution for cost-conscious customers,” says Eoin O’Flynn of Flogas Ireland. “They 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.”
Meanwhile, for portable and modern yet extremely functionalhome heating, the Flogas Gaslight cylinders, have been a great success since their launch and are getting an excellent response from customers because of all the benefits they offer.
Not only are the Flogas Gaslight cylinders about half the weight of the traditional steel cylinders, the semi-translucent exterior allows customers to see exactly how much gas they have left.
Flogas Gaslight cylinders are as safe as steel cylinders and won’t leave rust marks. They are available in 5kg and 10Kg sizes in selected outlets nationwide. Flogas Ireland is the exclusive distributor for Superser in Ireland and the UK. Contact Flogas on 041-9831041 or www.flogas.ie.
Q&A with Denis McCourt, Operations and Finance Director, Zip
Zip Firelighters have been a household name in Ireland for generations. Here, the brand’s operations and finance director Denis McCourt outlines the past year for the company, including how it managed in “the big snow” of 2018
Q:With the severe snowfall in February and March, was it necessary for Zip to deploy a contingency plan in order to supply retailers around the country?
A: Based on our continued weather monitoring together with our long-term relationships developed over many years with the Irish retail trade, it was possible for Zip to launch our contingency plans and deploy additional stock. Given our close proximity to the market, this meant that no retailers were out of stock during the unprecedented harsh weather period. In fact, the weather resulted in firelighters (the only household category item) being in the top 5 must-have items on the shopping lists of consumers during that period.
Q: Last year Zip entered into a charity partnership with Age Action to provide Starter Logs for the elderly; was this project a success, and are there further plans for it or something similar?
A: We were very pleased with the results from our collaboration with Age Action. The campaign really helped to elevate the charity and the work they do. Age Action volunteers distributed over 20,000 Zip Starter Logs to the more vulnerable, and we had lots of appreciation and thanks back from those that received them. The campaign also highlighted to us that there are lots of people willing to help others in their community, so our focus this winter is about raising awareness and highlighting unsung heroes. We want to reward those people who, without being asked, volunteer their skills and time for others. The Zip Irish Heroes campaign has already started with its launch at the National Ploughing Championship, so keep your eyes peeled for our new TV advert and social media activity where true Irish heroes will be acknowledged and rewarded!
Q: What innovations and new products will be on offer this winter, for consumers seeking the best value for money?
A: Zip has added three new products to its range: Smokeless Coal, Kiln Dried Wood Logs and Irish Willow Logs. This makes picking up fire materials more convenient for consumers. They can pick up fuel and ignition products from the same store location saving time. Standard Brands always deliver best value for money but will never compromise on quality.