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COST OF LIVING

The feel-good mantra peddled by the Government about how the real cost of living is the same as 2006 has been punctured by the latest figures for groceries.

The Sunday Tribune reports prices have risen by 4.2% in the past three months and some Christmas food favourites are significantly more expensive than last year. New research from Kantar Worldpanel Ireland shows Christmas puddings cost 17% more and stuffing is 12% dearer than 12 months ago. Turkeys are slightly cheaper and the good news is that we can all forget about the bad news for less thanks to the heavy festive promotions on alcohol.

“On top of price increases, the December budget cuts have added to consumer woes this month. In response to this, shoppers have reduced the size of their weekly shopping basket and continued to trade down to cheaper products,” said David Berry, commercial director at Kantar Worldpanel, which surveys 75,000 products year-on-year.

The figures for the three months to November 28 also show Tesco is continuing to grow market share; it now accounts for 27% of spend, up from 25.9% last year. Lidl and Aldi are also up significantly but Dunnes, Supervalu and Superquinn have all lost ground.

Separately, Kathleen Barrington in The Sunday Business Post notes that despite the recession and increased competition, Irish consumers are still paying way over the odds for groceries.

“Do not be fooled into thinking that a little competition has delivered much in the way of value for consumers,” she says. “The reality is that while the prices of certain goods may have fallen from great heights, Ireland still has the second-highest grocery prices in the EU.”

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