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The specialist food retailers market boomed in pre-recession Ireland as a result of several factors including increased levels of disposable income and readiness to spend on higher-quality food. In tandem with this, the Irish consumer’s palate has become progressively more sophisticated.

Consumers have also become more concerned with ethical issues such as food miles, traceability, provenance and organic farming, leading to a rise in demand for food and drink produce that meets these criteria.

As the recession progresses, consumers are trading down from everyday premium to shop across the entire spectrum of private label, which specialist food retailers struggle to compete with now that even many affluent customers are feeling the pinch.

Key themes in this report
  • How detrimental will the current economic downturn prove to be to specialist food retailers, and to what extent will grocery multiples benefit from these changes?

  • What impact have the changing population demographics had on the market?

  • Are consumers compromising their ethics and attitudes towards health when grocery shopping during the recession, and to what extent is this affecting specialist food retailers?

  • What role do specialist food retailers play in comparison to their competitors, eg grocery multiples and hard discounters? How can specialist food retailers sustain market share and grow their business in light of this?

  • Who are the key specialist food retailers in Ireland and what type of products do they offer?

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Key themes in this report
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Insights and Opportunities

            • From field to fork
              • Ice cold deals
                • Taste testing
                • Market in Brief

                    • Culinary sophistication increases in Ireland
                      • New market segments cater to ethical consumers
                        • Economic climate impacting specialist food retailers
                          • Silver shoppers set to further drive sales of specialist food produce
                            • New distribution channels providing potential
                              • Farmers’ markets a boon to market growth
                                • Supermarkets continue to pose threat to specialist food retailers
                                  • Meal solutions prove an innovative way to attract consumers
                                    • Further potential for foreign national shoppers and visitors to Ireland
                                    • Fast Forward Trends

                                        • Trend 1: Play Ethic
                                          • What’s it about?
                                            • What we've seen
                                              • Implications
                                                • What next?
                                                  • Trend 2: Learning Through Play
                                                    • What’s it about?
                                                      • What we’ve seen
                                                        • Implications
                                                          • What next?
                                                          • Internal Market Environment

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Food board initiatives a boon to growth of specialist food market
                                                                • Events serve to promote awareness of speciality food sector
                                                                  • Taste Council takes development of sector a step further
                                                                    • Endorsement of farmers’ markets as new distribution channels
                                                                      • Home-grown produce given a boost by FPNI
                                                                        • Rise of the green consumer
                                                                          • Food miles issues leading consumers to buy local
                                                                            • Figure 1: Agreement with the statement ‘I pay attention to where the products I purchase are made/grown’, NI and RoI, 2007 and 2008
                                                                          • The green Irish
                                                                            • Food scares bring traceability issues to the fore
                                                                              • Organic market provides retailers with growth opportunities
                                                                                • Doubts over organic benefits
                                                                                  • Culinary sophistication grows in Ireland
                                                                                    • Development of the connoisseur culture
                                                                                      • Figure 2: Percentage of consumers who have either eaten in or visited a range of foodservice establishments in last 12 months, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                    • Influx of foreign nationals adds spice to the market
                                                                                      • Figure 3: Immigration and emigration numbers, RoI, 2001-08
                                                                                      • Figure 4: Immigration and emigration numbers, NI, 2001-07
                                                                                    • Domestic migration also affecting specialist food retailers
                                                                                      • Figure 5: Agreement with various statements relating to shopping, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                    • Tourist industry provides potential for growth
                                                                                      • Figure 6: Total inward visits, by reason for journey, NI and RoI, 2004-08
                                                                                    • Celebrity endorsements boost sales
                                                                                      • Labelling influencing consumer choice
                                                                                        • Producers bypassing retailers through on-site farm shops
                                                                                          • Farmers’ markets and speciality foods go hand in hand
                                                                                          • Broader Market Environment

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Economic downturn suppressing consumers’ appetite
                                                                                                • Figure 7: Economic outlook for NI and RoI, 2008-10
                                                                                              • RoI consumers cutting back on life’s luxuries
                                                                                                • Seeking better value
                                                                                                  • Older consumers the mainstay of the market
                                                                                                    • Figure 8: Population projections, by age group, RoI, 2006-26
                                                                                                    • Figure 9: Population projections, by age group, NI, 2006-26
                                                                                                    • Figure 10: Percentage of consumers who regularly shop in a local greengrocer, butcher, fishmonger or bakery, by age, NI and RoI, January 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 11: Agreement with statement ‘I don’t pay sufficient attention to what I eat’, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                  • Changes in household structure to provide market innovation
                                                                                                    • Figure 12: Percentage of households, by household size, NI and RoI, 2002-06
                                                                                                  • Allowing greater access to market
                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Percentage of respondents who have accessed the internet in the last 12 months, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                                  • Silver surfers a key target group for online retailers
                                                                                                    • Figure 14: Percentage of consumers who have used the internet in the past 12 months, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                  • Online grocery shopping underdeveloped
                                                                                                      • Figure 15: Agreement with statement ‘I would do my shopping by the internet if there was a safe way to pay’, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                                  • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                                                    • Strengths
                                                                                                      • Weaknesses
                                                                                                      • Market Value and Forecast

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Specialist food retailers feeling the heat of the recession
                                                                                                            • Figure 16: Estimated retail sales of food and drink products sold in specialist food retailers*, IoI, NI and RoI, 2004-13
                                                                                                          • Recession both a help and a hindrance
                                                                                                            • The future
                                                                                                              • Competition intensifies in RoI
                                                                                                                • Figure 17: Number of enterprises, RoI, 2002-06
                                                                                                                • Figure 18: Estimated sales of Irish-produced specialist foods, RoI, 2003-13*
                                                                                                              • Farmers’ markets meeting the need for authenticity
                                                                                                                • NI playing catch-up with RoI
                                                                                                                • Competitive Context

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Growth of discounters as delicatessens suffer
                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Market share of RoI grocery market, by retailer, 2006 and 2008
                                                                                                                      • Figure 20: Market share of the UK (incl. NI) grocery market, by retailer, 2006 and 2008
                                                                                                                    • Supermarkets – the ‘one-stop shop’
                                                                                                                    • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Twittering away
                                                                                                                          • Convenience comes to the fore
                                                                                                                            • Whetting the consumer’s appetite nationwide
                                                                                                                              • Going green
                                                                                                                                • From the field to the fridge
                                                                                                                                  • Try before you buy
                                                                                                                                  • Companies and Brands

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • NI
                                                                                                                                        • Arcadia Delicatessen – Belfast
                                                                                                                                          • Greens Food Fare – Lisburn
                                                                                                                                            • McGee’s Butchers – throughout NI
                                                                                                                                              • McKee’s Country Store and Restaurant – Newtownards
                                                                                                                                                • Organic Doorstep – Castlederg
                                                                                                                                                  • Sawers Deli – Belfast
                                                                                                                                                    • The Olive Tree Company – Belfast
                                                                                                                                                      • The Vineyard – Belfast
                                                                                                                                                        • Yellow Door Deli and Patisserie – Belfast and Portadown
                                                                                                                                                          • RoI
                                                                                                                                                            • Ardkeen Quality Food Store – Waterford
                                                                                                                                                              • Burren Smokehouse – Lisdoonvarna
                                                                                                                                                                • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                                                  • Connemara Smokehouse
                                                                                                                                                                    • Fallon & Byrne – Dublin
                                                                                                                                                                      • Fresh – The Good Food Market – Dublin
                                                                                                                                                                        • Gibney’s – Dublin
                                                                                                                                                                          • Kelly’s Butchers – Newport
                                                                                                                                                                            • McGeough’s Connemara Fine Foods – Galway
                                                                                                                                                                              • Organic Supermarket – Dublin
                                                                                                                                                                                • Sheridans Cheesemongers – Galway, Dublin and Waterford
                                                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Demand for Specialist Produce

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Local grocers gain ground
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Type of shop consumers shop in, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Convenience an important consideration when top-up shopping
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Type of shop frequented for top-up shopping, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                                      • RoI consumers keen visitors to supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Type of shop consumers regularly shop in, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      • RoI consumers more likely to use fishmongers and farmers’ markets
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lazy consumer a boon to independent grocers
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Shopping for groceries: Distance travelled, main shopping, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Strong demand for organic and health ranges
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Types of food purchased regularly, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Organic farm shops to be bolstered by consumer loyalty during the recession
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Lack of healthy claim may damage organic sales
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Demand for premium higher in RoI
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Specialist Food Shoppers – Preferences

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                • A new focus for specialist food retailers
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Percentage of consumers who regularly visit a local greengrocer, butcher, fishmonger or bakery, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Agreement with statement ‘I prefer to prepare my meals from scratch’, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Even NI specialist food shoppers feeling the pinch
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Factors considered most important when shopping for food or drink, according to food specialist shoppers, NI, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Factors considered most important when shopping for food or drink, according to food specialist shoppers, RoI, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Premium a key aspect
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Support for the local economy during the recession
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Animal welfare also a key concern
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Agreement with statement ‘I buy free-range products whenever I can’, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Internal market environment
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Statements that apply to food eaten when on holidays or a short break in Ireland, NI, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Agreement with statements relating to food and drink when on holiday or short break in Ireland, RoI, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Broader market environment
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Population projections, by age group, NI, 2006-26
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Population projections, by age group, RoI, 2006-26
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The consumer
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Lifestyle/shopping habits affected by the credit crunch in the last three months, NI and RoI, May 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Last impression the recession or credit crunch has had on respondents, NI and RoI, May 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Food or drink retailers that consumers regularly shop in, NI and RoI, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Factors considered most important when shopping for food or drink, NI, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Factors considered most important when shopping for food or drink, RoI, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Factors considered most important when shopping for food or drink, NI, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Factors considered most important when shopping for food or drink, RoI, January 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                                  About the report

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                    New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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