Easter Grocery Round-Up

Easter is a lot like Christmas

Easter week is a key trading period in the Irish grocery calendar. It is similar in nature to Christmas though smaller in scale. All the categories have an active plan across fresh, ambient and non-food with key areas such as fish, confectionery, bakery, flowers, alcohol and produce seeing strong uplifts.

Congested Mini-Events

It is an interesting trading period since it follows a post-Christmas lull and takes in trade opportunities starting with Ash Wednesday (fish) and moving through St Patrick’s Day (alcohol) and Mothers Day (flowers), culminating in Good Friday (more fish), Easter Sunday (bakery, meat, fish, chocolate eggs, flowers), the Bank Holiday weekend (more alcohol) and back to school (lunchbox fillers). Depending on when Easter falls, there can be considerable congestion with these mini events which can be an operational and marketing challenge. Equally problematic, with Easter Sunday potentially varying from  23rd March in 2008 to 24th April in 2011, there can be considerably different weather year on year. An early Easter can be a ‘roasting’ meats opportunity but a late Easter is into BBQ territory.

Strategic Direction

The retail strategy at Easter, as with Christmas, is a good indicator of overall strategic direction so it is important to watch closely.  I carried out research which included an in-store product & price survey  (Tesco, Dunnes, SuperValu, Aldi & Lidl), marketing review (mainly leaflets and press-ads) and a simple online consumer survey.  The product & price review captured >200 lines across key food and drink categories.  This was narrowed down to 80 key lines available in all 5 retailers and then narrowed further to 35 essential Easter seasonal products e.g. lamb legs, chocolate eggs, hot cross buns, fresh fish, prosecco and a fry-up) .

Here are some take-outs:

  1. The simplest value available was in Aldi where the top 35 lines could be picked up for €156.08.
  2. The cheapest shop theoretically could be done in Tesco where the same top 35 lines cost €181.69 but, since Tesco were accepting competitor coupons, could be bought for €151.69 by redeeming 3 x €10 Dunnes Stores ‘shop & save’ vouchers.
  3. Premium private label ranges featured strongly again following a strong presence during Christmas 2016.  In Aldi and Lidl, Specially Selected and Deluxe products made up almost 40% of the lines surveyed in the full basket and demonstrates a major strategic effort to bring value back to categories deflated by price reductions over the last 3 years.
  4. The tastiest hot cross bun (in my opinion) was from Stafford’s Bakery in Wexford.  It scored 9/10 and contained 5x as much fruit as the lowest scoring contender.
  5. Aldi were the only retailer to offer nationwide availability of new season spring lamb.
  6. Tesco had the best branded Easter Egg offer with the joint lowest price on medium eggs at €1.45 but with a vastly superior range and good availability.

For the full free report please email me at malachy@foodfirstconsulting.ie

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