Credit: Creative Commons CC (public domain)

Grocery prices can be expected to reduce, food retailers tell Govt

Irish consumers can expect to see the price of groceries fall in situations where input costs have reduced, Minister for State with responsibility for retail, Neale Richmond has said. 

The junior Minister made the comments following a meeting of the Retail Forum on Wednesday, in which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Minister Richmond was to send the “clear message” that the Government expects a reduction in the price of groceries.

“I had an open and frank conversation with the members of the Retail Forum where we discussed the factors driving inflation for grocery goods which is higher than the general rate of inflation,” Mr Richmond said following the meeting, of which he was chair.

He said it was “quite clear” that many families and workers in Ireland are struggling with the cost of groceries.

However, he said that the cost of bread and other products falling should give consumers hope.

“Already in the last week, we’ve seen prices come down in relation to bread, butter and milk, but we think particularly, our focus is on the staple goods – the sort of products people simply can’t do without,” he told RTE.

“We have seen cuts to the price of butter, milk and bread prices in recent days; these are to be welcomed,” he said.

The junior Minister said he was “pleased” that he had “received assurances from retailers” that, where reductions in input costs filter through to products, consumers would benefit.

Speaking on RTE News last night, Mr Richmond said he had received “ a clear undertaking” from all major retailers and representative bodies, that where input costs had come down, this would be seen at supermarket checkouts.

“Increased costs go beyond food; I raised particular concerns about the cost of essential staple items and there was broad agreement on the need for these items to remain competitive.”

“We had a really good meeting today,” he said.

“I would like to thank the members for attending today at short notice and for their constructive approach and look forward to continuing our engagement over coming months,” he said.

The forum is to discuss the matter again at the end of June.

“We’re reconvening on the 21st June, and we said that we want to see demonstrable efforts and measures by then in this area,” he said.

Following the meeting, Retail Ireland said that retailers were “actively working” to lower the cost of food, but that there is a “significant lag” in how input costs increases translate into price increases for consumers at the till.

“The retail sector fully appreciates the concerns of customers at the high levels of food inflation. Retailers are actively working to minimise the impact on consumers of massive EU-wide commodity price increases and this will continue,” Retail Ireland Director Arnold Dillon said.

“Specific pricing decisions are a matter for individual retailers, but intense competition in the sector will ensure that consumers benefit from falling commodity prices. This is happening already and will continue.”

“Retailers held off increasing prices for as long as possible last year, but could not absorb the massive cost increases indefinitely. We expect general inflation and food inflation to ease as we move through the year,” he said.

Promises to reduce the rising cost of essentials come amid a surge in the number of people falling behind on the energy bills. As reported earlier this week, an additional 20,000 gas customers fell into arrears in the first three months of the year, according to new figures from Ireland’s Independent energy and water regulator, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).

The disconcerting statistics from the CRU show that more than 160,000 people in Ireland were behind on their bills at the end of March – a jump of more than 20,6000 since last year, representing 23 per cent of Irish gas customers.

Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are closed

Do you support the Governments plans to put calorie labels on wine bottles?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...