Welcome to the latest edition of our Agri-Food 2030 series, focusing on the future Irish consumer. The previous entry in our series, which can be read here, focused on the pressures from government, regulators and society at large on the Food & Agri sector to adapt to a changing society. Our latest report focuses specifically on the Irish consumer, identifying several trends which will create not only new challenges for farmers, processors, and food retailers across Ireland, but also countless new opportunities to take advantage of.
The global climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and Ireland’s changing dietary habits are changing the sector in ways we have not seen for decades. The future consumer is more demanding than previous generations, and there has never been a greater emphasis on quality, sustainability and transparency. However, price is still key. As Ireland, like the rest of the world, currently deals with rising prices as a result of global inflation, our survey found that almost half (49%) of consumers place price as the number one factor when purchasing food and groceries.
This was followed by health & nutritional credentials of the product - further evidence of a larger growing health consciousness across the country. Other important factors include brand familiarity, products being Irish in origin, and food that is sustainable. Interestingly, our survey found that people do not (at least consciously) place great emphasis on brand and advertising as deciding factors when purchasing food.
Our research also found that while consumers are moving ever-more towards online shopping across the board, this trend hasn’t yet penetrated the food market to near the same extent, although there is a clear age divide evident, with under-35s more likely to either shop online for food now or showing more willingness in the future. Despite this, over 2 in 3 consumers still prefer to buy fresh fruit and meat in store so they can examine the quality themselves, and 44% believe the shelf-life of food products bought online is not as good as those they buy in-store themselves.
The message from consumers is clear - they want more locally produced sustainable healthy produce, while also remaining competitive on price. Farmers and food businesses that don’t adapt along with the future Irish consumer could risk being left on the shelf.
Get in touch
The food and agribusiness sector is a competitive arena; if you have any queries on how we can help develop your business, please get in touch with Tom McEvoy, Head of Food and Agribusiness. We'd be delighted to hear from you.
Head of Food & Agribusiness
KPMG in Ireland