Tag Archive - grocery prices

NCA – can’t be arsed doing their jobs?

Back in July last year, we had some fun with the National Consumer Agency over their grocery price survey which excluded Aldi and Lidl. I was reminded this today by an article by Ian Kehoe in the Sunday Business Post, Focus on €14bn grocery trade.

A quote from the article goes as follows:

The National Consumer Agency (NCA) recently published a pilot study which found little difference in prices between the main supermarket chains. The agency described the similarity in prices as ‘‘worrying’’.


The NCA is currently carrying out a more comprehensive study on the issue, and is also investigating why customers pay more in supermarkets in the Republic than in the North or England. An NCA spokesman said the report would be published in the coming months.

Recently mind you is over 6 months ago. As far as I can tell from here, inflation in food prices is approaching 4% since then.

And when they originally did their survey, the comment at the time was as follows:

The survey is the first tranche of research into grocery prices carried out by the NCA and a further survey will take place towards the end of the year which will include non-branded goods available in multiple and symbol group retailers.

So, the NCA are using 6 month old research calling it “recent” and when they said they were going to do an updated survey, they still haven’t done it – over 2 months late as we stand now. In fairness, how hard can it be to go out and buy a few things in the supermarket?

What do these people do again? Look after the interests of Irish consumers? Exactly how?

The good and the bad of shopping in Lidl and Aldi


Thanks to Primal Sneeze for the link in the “Serious Rant” section of the links on the site. Some very interesting comments on Primal Sneeze and worth keeping track of. His current post A Shopping Un-list is interesting in the light of some of the coverage following our Lidl and Aldi addition to the NCA Grocery Survey.

While we did point out the fact that these two could be cheaper than the big 4, we also said that you may have to compromise on brands. Pricewatch coverage in the Irish Times mentioned the issue with the dodgy cornflakes – but as pointed out on Primal Sneeze, there are some fantastic products you can also get in both shops.

Last post on the NCA Grocery Comparison survey

I was checking the National Consumer Agency website today to see if they had any response to our enhancement of their grocery price comparison survey last month. Probably not surpisingly, there was no comment at all.

What I did notice was a comment that seems to even contradict the NCAs own reasons for not including Aldi and Lidl in their price comparison survey.

In their original publicity about the survey, and in subsequent media commentary, the NCA said that they didn’t go to Aldi and Lidl because they didn’t stock as many branded items as the “big 3”.

Yet, further on in their own coverage (same link above) commenting that Centra, Spar and Eurospar were included in the survey “while not all products were common” and that the survey was carried out “for a decreasing number of goods being common” in these three shops.

What’s the real reason for not going to Aldi and Lidl then? Why go to other shops that don’t have matching branded items yet exclude our German friends? As has been suggested of PriceWatch in the Irish Times in comments here, is there some sort of general bias against Aldi and Lidl?

New Fans of Value Ireland

It seems that our blog has become popular with a certain supermarket chain following our work to update the National Consumer Agency grocery comparison survey (link temporarily missing, apologies).

During the month of August, the 3rd heaviest users of the Value Ireland website were people from Tesco. Presumably they were visiting the updated grocery comparison survey, but hopefully for the rest of us, they were visiting other sections as well and maybe seeing what it’s like to be a consumer in Ireland.

Grocery Prices – gone up or gone down?

There was much coverage this morning in the Irish Examiner quoting from a CSO report about the price of groceries since the dropping of the Groceries Order last year. The gist of the article was that groceries prices have increased 16% since the removal of the Groceries Order.

There was a press release later today from the Competition Authority (who themselves supported the removal of the Groceries Order). I don’t really understand what they’re saying – have prices gone up or gone down. See if you can work it out. Here’s the contents of the press release.

It’s no wonder people don’t really care any more when they’re presented with this kind of information.

Abolition of Groceries Order has been good for consumers

Media reports today that food prices have “soared” since the abolition of
the Groceries Order are not borne out by official data from the Central
Statistics Office which show that in fact the opposite is the case.

Since April 2006, CSO figures show that prices of items covered by the
Groceries Order have fallen by 1.5% to their lowest level since December 2002.
Over the same period prices of items that were never covered by the Groceries
Order such as fresh meat, vegetables and fish have risen by 2.3%.

The price figures cited by the survey conducted by the Irish Examiner today
14February 2007 are based on sub-set of the grocery items checked by the CSO (73
items). But in fact the basket of consumer goods and services used to calculate
the monthly inflation figure comprises a total of 613 items. Some items are
further broken down into different varieties and in total over 1,040 different
varieties are included in the basket.

In its Consumer Price Index Press Release of 18 January 2006, the
CentralStatistics Office states that: “There has been a particular focus on the
removal of the Groceries Order and its effect on the CPI in 2006. The repeal
took effect from March 2006 and the first month in which post Groceries Order
prices were collected for the CPI was April. Bearing this in mind, it can
nonetheless be seen that items previously covered by the Groceries Order showed
an increase of only 0.1% in 2006, while groceries items which were never covered
by the Groceries Order increased by 2.4% in the year. This is a reverse of the
trend in the three years prior to the repeal of the Groceries Order, where
Non-Groceries Order items showed lower inflation than those covered by the
Groceries Order.”

This statement is based on the price data reported by the CSO in its
monthly Consumer Price Index press release, specifically “Table 21” of that
release. This table shows monthly price levels for items covered by the
Groceries Order and those not covered by the Groceries Order.
According to the Chairperson of The Competition Authority, Mr Bill Prasifka said today “The Competition Authority has a continuing role in monitoring the grocery sector and we believe it is important that we use the most robust data available based on a sound methodology.”

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