Retail News April 2023

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Looking to the Future

In this month’s Retail News, we’re looking ahead to what the future will bring for Ireland’s retailers, both short- and longterm.

In our big interview, Retail Ireland Director Arnold Dillon talks editor John Walshe through the retail group’s new strategy, which is built around the theme of sustainability (Page 12), and discusses some of the biggest issues facing retailers in 2023, from the onslaught of new legislation to anti-social behaviour by customers, the incoming Deposit Return Scheme and rising inflation.

We also report from the annual TU Dublin Retail Symposium, which addressed both current challenges and the future technologies likely to impact the retail world (Page 18) and reveal how product identification and data sharing standards from GS1 allow millions of companies across the globe to exchange product data and unlock a wide range of benefits (Page 22). The expert speakers at the recent Love Irish Food webinar, meanwhile, suggested that the worst may be over in terms of cost increases and predicted that the outlook has improved for both the domestic and global economy (Page 46).

Elsewhere, we examine the big players in Ireland’s Cash & Carry/Wholesale sector (Page 26) and take a deep dive into the area of Sustainability, focusing on the opportunities and challenges for the FMCG sector as it embraces an environmentally friendly agenda (Page 33), including the increased prevalence of greenhushing and the surprising results of a new study that suggests consumers don’t care about sustainability as much as they say they do.

2 Retailers want balance amid barrage of employment law.

3 Cost incentives under new waste collection rules; Retailers warned of potential scams.

4 Spar celebrate 60th anniversary in Ireland with €60,000 community fund; New Chair of Irish Beverage Council.

5 Daybreak to open 37 new stores in €8 million expansion programme; Musgrave named ‘Large Learning & Development Organisation of the Year’ at CIPD Awards.

6 FSAI advice line complaints rise in 2022; Circle K announce new partnership with the FAI.

7 Grocery sales increase with highest footfall since March 2020; Senior appointment at Aldi.

Retail News Interview

12 Retail Ireland recently launched its new three-year strategy ‘A Sustainable Future for Irish Retail’. Arnold Dillon, Director, talks us through the strategy and other challenges facing Irish retailers in the months and years ahead.


16 Irish company Free’ist is celebrating its 10th birthday with a new range of ‘no added sugar’ and ‘dairy free’ chocolate bars.

TU Dublin Retail Symposium

18 The recent TU Dublin Retail Symposium saw a wealth of speakers assessing the current state of Irish retail and predicting the trends and technologies likely to shape its future.

Product Identification and Data Sharing

22 Product identification and data sharing standards from GS1 will help drive consumer engagement, while boosting efficiency, lowering costs and supporting sustainability, writes Maria Svejdar, Head of Marketing, Communications and CX, GS1 Ireland.

Retail Ireland: Monthly Update

24 Proposed alcohol labelling could undermine single market; Retailers to register for Deposit Return Scheme.

Cash & Carry / Wholesale Focus

26 We examine the performance of Ireland’s Cash & Carry/Wholesale sector from the point of view of some of its biggest names, including Musgrave MarketPlace, Value Centre and Stonehouse.

Bottled Water

32 Deep RiverRock has claimed the number one spot as the most popular impulse water brand on the island of Ireland.


33 There is often a gap between what we say and what we do when it comes to sustainability, for both businesses and consumers. We examine the issues and reveal some of the companies making real, measurable progress (Page 33). We also report on Origin Green’s new Food Waste Guidance document (Page 40) and reveal the range of SEAI supports and grants for businesses looking to make sustainability improvements and to cut down on energy consumption and costs (Page 42).

Nutrition and Healthy Eating

44 Killian Barry, Managing Director, Danone Ireland, argues that companies have to play their part in tackling the obesity crisis, alongside Government and consumers themselves.

Love Irish Food

46 A recent Love Irish Food webinar suggested that while the rising cost of living is impacting the grocery market, the worst may be over and the outlook for the rest of the year is improving.

Employment Law

57 Síobhra Rush and Sinead Likely of Lewis Silkin explore the legal and practical issues around employing people with neurodivergent conditions and how employers in the retail sector can develop a more neurodiverse workforce.

Regulars & Reports 8 Industry News 48 Tobacco Products 54 Drinks News 60 Shelf Life Retail News|April 2023||1
44 12 46 18 Published by: Tara Publishing Ltd, 14 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 00353 1 6785165 Fax: 00353 1 6477127 Web: Email: Subscription to Retail News: e95 plus VAT Email: Reproduction without written permission is strictly prohibited. Managing Director: Patrick Aylward Editorial & Marketing Director: Kathleen Belton Editor: John Walshe Sales: Brian Clark Sales: Aaron Stewart Chief News Reporter: Pavel Barter Production: Ciara Conway Wine Correspondent: Jean Smullen Graphics: Niall Mc Hugh Printed by: W&G Baird @RetailNews1 Retail News Ireland’s Longest Established Grocery Magazine

Retailers want balance amid barrage of employment law

RGDATA has criticised “accumulative piecemeal” employment legislation, which can confuse small retailers who are seeking compliance. The claim follows the introduction of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, which allows for five days unpaid leave for “medical care purposes for parents of children under 12” and more worker rights in regard to "flexible" working hours.

Following a whirlwind of workplace and employment law requirements - which include statutory sick pay, whistleblowing, gender pay gap reporting and pensions autoenrolment - Tara Buckley, RGDATA Director General, called for “an economic impact assessment of the accumulative impact of these bills” and a “support scheme to ensure smaller employers can introduce all of these changes simultaneously”.

“These employment regulations are coming in piecemeal over the last number of months and we’re already looking at more, which is a challenge for the SME businesses we represent,” she explained. “There’s an accumulative impact to all of these regulations.”

Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME, voiced his support of the new Work Life directive “with the proviso that they must work for both employers and employees”.

Last year, however, the late employment law solicitor Richard Grogan expressed concern that some of its measures may disproportionally affect small businesses.

Grogan described the five days’ unpaid leave for a “significant medical issue", for example, as too vague.

The Bill allows for five days’ paid leave for victims of domestic violence. Tesco Ireland pre-empted the law by updating its “time-off policy” to reflect this provision. Vincent Jennings, CEO of CSNA, expressed concern about a lack of clarity around the employer’s duty of care obligations, as part of the Bill, in incidences where staff experience domestic violence.

“I’d be concerned as to how that is going to be managed from a GDPR and safety

perspective,” he said. “A lot of thought has to be put into how that is going to be operated. Not everybody would be comfortable discussing something deeply personal and very private with their employer. Is it something that would be better dealt with by the Department of Social Welfare, rather than the employer?”

Despite the barrage of employment legislation, retailers are keen to remain compliant, Buckley told Retail News : “We are good employers and trying to be compliant. But we have to ensure that the introduction of all these new types of leave – whether paid or unpaid – are as easy as possible for employers.”

News 2|Retail News|April 2023|
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Vincent Jennings, CEO, CSNA. Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME. Tara Buckley, RGDATA Director General.

Cost incentives under new waste collection rules

COMMERCIAL businesses are being incentivised to segregate their waste through new legislation. Under the regulations, waste collection companies must ensure that all commercial customers are placed onto a price plan that ensures the disposal cost of recyclable or biowaste is cheaper than the disposal cost for municipal waste.

This change, which brings the commercial sector in line with the residential sector, where incentivised pricing has been in place since 2017, could bring about cost savings for retailers, according to Repak. “Separating packaging makes commercial sense if implemented correctly,” Laura Sherry, Repak’s Head of Communications told Retail News . “Our members can save money and help Ireland achieve its packaging recycling targets.”

In 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found in a study that 70% of the material placed in the average commercial waste bin could instead be put in recycling or organic bins. Under

the new Waste Management (Collection Permit) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023, “waste collection companies will be required to provide a residual, mixed dry recyclable and bio-waste bin to all their commercial customers” and “waste collected must be weighed, with details on the weights… communicated to customers”.

Most retailers already abide by the new rules, according to RGDATA. “The retailers I represent already segregate their waste,” noted Tara Buckley, Director General. “A lot of our members have invested in cardboard compressors, things like that. The average supermarket or convenience store is already segregating cardboard, dry recyclables, compostables…”

Séamus Clancy, CEO of Repak, added: "The proper segregation of materials will lower waste management costs for businesses in Ireland, and substantially increase the level of recyclable material which can be collected. Repak… will be providing guidance to businesses on how best to collect and separate waste in the

Retailers warned of potential scams

RETAILERS are advised to be vigilant following reports of scams. The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) has received notifications from members in Dublin and Galway of a fake sales agent who arrives at a shop with boxes of vaping products, with a delivery order printed with the store’s name. He asks for the owner by name and, when informed that the owner is not around, asks the cashier to take the delivery and pay for the products.

The scam, according to CSNA chief Vincent Jennings, is as “old as the hills. I saw it happening years ago with greeting cards. Then it became lighters. Now I see it is updated to the

most efficient and cost-effective manner. The successful adoption of incentivised charging for waste collection in the commercial sector is crucial to ensure Ireland can meet the targets set by the EU Waste Framework Directive."

more modern version: vaping products.”

CSNA members have also received fraudulent calls from someone claiming to be a representative of Payzone. The caller asks the staff member to print prepaid vouchers and cards, which they then redeem for themselves.

“This can happen for any product that you are selling electronically,” Olivia Noonan, Head of Financial Services at Payzone, told Retail News. “It’s not unique to Payzone. We always communicate to retailers: never give information over the phone. It’s no different to banking scams that are out there at the moment.”

Aoife Ward, Payzone Marketing Manager, explained: “Payzone would never directly contact retailers by phone to print out codes on any of our services. Retailers should always get payment before printing or handing over the code to a customer for instore transactions. Retailers should never give any electronic code details, for example mobile top-up or any product, over the phone.”

Ward added: “Payzone employees who call to the shop will always have ID and should never be allowed access the terminal without authorisation from the retailer.”

Vincent Jennings advised retailers to educate their staff about potential scams. Payzone advised retailers to report any fraudulent calls or visits to the Garda and Payzone.

Retail News|April 2023||3 News
Séamus Clancy, CEO of Repak.

Spar celebrate 60 th anniversary in Ireland with €60,000 community fund

SPAR ambassador and Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington recently launched the €60,000 Spar 60th Community Fund. For 60 years, Spar retailers are proud to have served the communities in which they are rooted, and the new initiative will see Spar invest €60,000 back into local communities to drive positive change and impact. Through the Spar 60th Community Fund, six local community clubs, groups or programmes will be rewarded with €10,000 each, along with the chance to meet Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington and take her on in a fun series of challenges.

This campaign builds on Spar’s established Community Fund initiative which was launched in December 2021 and will see Spar’s direct investment reaching €80,000 into deserving community projects across the country, something that is indicative of Spar’s ongoing commitment of giving back to local communities and their customers.

Spar and Kellie are inviting all community groups to apply for a chance to win, with applications open until April 30.

“The Spar 60th Community Fund is a massive boost to what is a project that I’m really passionate about,” noted Kellie Harrington. “Community means as much to me as it does to Spar and I am delighted to once again be involved in boosting funds to people, clubs and programmes across Ireland who are bringing that sense of community and pride to where they live. I am really looking forward to meeting the winning clubs this summer and would encourage everyone to enter, from dance clubs to youth groups and retirement homes; the Spar 60th Community Fund is open to everyone and it’s a great way of giving back in a meaningful way and seeing vital community work both acknowledged and rewarded.”

Colin Donnelly, Spar Sales Director, said, “For 60 years, Spar

have been proud to serve local communities around the country. The Spar 60th Community Fund is just one of the many initiatives we are launching this year to celebrate our anniversary and it allows us to continue our ongoing work of rewarding and acknowledging the communities Spar is embedded in. It is great to have our brand ambassador Kellie Harrington with us here today, who is consistently championing the importance of community in Ireland.”

New Chair of Irish Beverage Council

THE Irish Beverage Council (IBC), the Ibec group that represents the non-alcohol beverage industry, has announced Agnese Filippi, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland, as the new Chair of the IBC.

As IBC Chair, Agnese Filippi will be responsible for representing an important industry at the heart of Ireland’s economy, employing over 3,500 people directly and supporting an additional 3,000 jobs indirectly.

“I am delighted to take on the role as Chair of the IBC at what is a crucial time for all of us operating in the industry,” noted Agnese. “As the sector continues to navigate changing consumer demands and rising costs, as well as economic uncertainty, the IBC is a vital partnership platform that enables industry to work together and grow into the future.

“Over the next two years, our industry is

Agnese Filippi, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland, is the new Chair of the Irish Beverage Council.

committed to working with policy-makers and the broader business ecosystem to continue our growth journey, while also taking firm action to achieve a netzero future. This includes supporting Government in helping to introduce the Deposit Return Scheme, which will become operational early next year. As Chair of IBC, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council to ensure a collaborative approach to its roll-out.”

Robert Kiernan, Director of the Irish Beverage Council, said: “I am delighted to welcome Agnese to her new role as Chair of the IBC. Agnese brings significant experience and expertise with her to this position, and I look forward to working closely with Agnese in what will be a very exciting time for both our industry and the Irish economy as a whole”.

News 4|Retail News|April 2023|
Spar ambassador and Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington pictured launching the € 60,000 Spar 60th Community Fund.

Daybreak to open 37 new stores in €8 million expansion

DAYBREAK have announced an €8.2 million investment in their store expansion programme. The investment will see Daybreak grow their nationwide presence with the opening of 37 new stores, in addition to the 300 currently operating across the country. The move will also support up to 500 jobs across local communities, bringing the total employment figure at Daybreak to almost 4700. The expansion and investment programme will bring the Daybreak network to 360 stores nationwide by 2025.

2022 saw sales increase by 15% compared to 2019 (the last non-Covid impacted year), while revamped stores have seen sales grow by 22%. In addition, the company has successfully developed a range of sub-brands, including fresh food-to-go brand Munch & Co, ice cream brand Lickety Split, and coffee brand 9Grams, which have helped Daybreak to set themselves apart from competitors.

“At Daybreak, we strive to deliver the best value and exceptional quality Irish products to customers,” noted Thomas Morrison, Head of Retail and Musgrave MarketPlace. “As consumer demand for high-quality food-to-go increases, we are responding by introducing new products. In particular, the market for evening meals is performing very strongly and we are responding with a new Daybreak own-brand meals solution which will enhance our offering and brand image.”

Thomas explained how the company are extremely cognisant that these are challenging times, with increased living costs and rising inflation: “We’re continuously adapting to meet our customers’ needs and give them the best possible value. I would

like to thank our customers for their loyalty, as well as our retail partners in every community across Ireland, for the role they have played in delivering this relentless value and service.”

The investment was announced at the Daybreak National Conference, which also saw the Daybreak Store of the Year Awards handed out, with the top accolade going to Scally’s Daybreak South Link, Cork City.

Musgrave named ‘Large Learning & Development Organisation of the Year’ at CIPD Awards

MUSGRAVE have been named Large Learning & Development Organisation of the Year at the annual Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) awards.

The prestigious award recognises Musgrave as an

organisation that has demonstrated strong links between organisational development activity, the achievement of business goals, and the implementation of a series of learning and development strategies to boost skills and improve team performance.

The award comes after Musgrave have invested significantly in developing leadership capabilities and future skills at entry level across the business.

“We are honoured to be awarded the Large Learning & Development organisation of the year at this year’s CIPD Awards,” noted Anne Rigney, Director of Talent, Learning & Development, Musgrave. “The investment in our leadership capability and future skills at every level and in every part of our business - be that in our retail stores, our warehouses, out on the road and in offices - is critical to the sustainable growth of our business and our people. We believe anything is possible once we have the right mindset and skillset.

“It is fantastic to see programmes on our Leadership Pathway, and our future skills programmes such as data, bakery, driver and design academies, getting this level of recognition. We are proud to be able to offer people a diverse range of exciting and fulfilling career opportunities across our business and we encourage people to come and join the Musgrave team.”

Retail News|April 2023||5 News
The Musgrave Team are pictured receiving the Large Learning & Development Organisation of the Year Award at the annual Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) awards. Pictured are Thomas Morrison, Head of Retail and Musgrave MarketPlace, and Daybreak Retail Council Chair and store owner, Kevin Forde.

FSAI advice line complaints rise in 2022

A TOTAL of 7,363 queries and complaints were handled by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s (FSAI) Advice Line in 2022. There were 4,058 complaints from consumers, with 31% of complaints relating to unfit food and 28% to poor hygiene standards. Overall, the 2022 complaints saw an 18.9% increase compared with 2021 figures, continuing an overall upwards trend over the past decade.

Foreign body contamination of food was frequently reported in 2022. Commonly reported objects in food included: pieces of glass, wood, plastic, paper, metal, hairs, small stones, medicine tablets, and insects. Examples included a live snail in a pack of spinach, live maggots in fried chicken, part of a disposable glove in a rocky road biscuit, a dirty and possibly bloody plaster in a curry, a piece of glass in coffee beans, and metal shavings in chicken wings. Complaints regarding unfit food cited meats not cooked completely, mould found on food products, foods on sale past their use-by date, and food served cold instead of hot.

The second most frequently reported topic related to poor hygiene standards. Hygiene issues reported included: fish deliveries left outside in the sun; excessive flies and overall dirty food business premises; rodent droppings spotted; bathrooms lacking soap; staff not washing hands and other poor staff hygiene habits.

All complaints received by the FSAI in 2022 were followed up and investigated by food inspectors throughout the country.

The FSAI’s Advice Line also offers advice and information and

during 2022, there were 3,305 food safety queries from people working in the food service sector, including manufacturers, retailers, distributors, researchers, consultants and consumers.

Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI, noted how the reporting of food safety issues plays a vital role in complementing the work of the food safety inspectorate: “We commend members of the public, as well as the food industry, for reporting food safety issues. Food businesses have a legal obligation to provide safe food and people noticing and contacting us is of great benefit to the Environmental Health Officers, veterinary and agricultural inspectors, sea-fisheries inspection officers and the laboratories. While they carry out routine inspections throughout the country and analyse food samples, complaints assist in targeting an issue and ensure possible threats to public health are dealt with quickly. The increase in complaints is a positive indication of people’s heightened awareness of their right to expect high standards of hygiene and food safety in relation to food.”

In 2022, the FSAI ran a digital communications campaign entitled See Something, Say Something which aimed to raise awareness amongst consumers of their online complaint service.

“We encourage anyone who encounters poor hygiene or food safety standards in a food business to report the matter to the FSAI, so that it can be investigated by the relevant food safety inspectorate,” said Dr Byrne.

Circle K announce new partnership with the FAI

CIRCLE K are set to fuel Irish grassroots and elite football in a new agreement that will see the brand become the Official Fuel and Convenience Partner to the FAI, partner to the Men’s and Women’s National Teams and title sponsor of FAI Club Mark, an awards programme for best practice in the governance, management and administration of grassroots football clubs nationwide.

“With a network of over 400 service stations in Ireland, Circle K are at the heart of communities in Ireland, supporting our customers with essential products and services,” noted Gordon Lawlor, Managing Director of Circle K Ireland. “We also understand and acknowledge the important role local football clubs play in communities across Ireland and are proud to partner with the FAI to support grassroots football and our national teams. Customers should keep an eye on our social media channels over the coming months for details of how the public can get involved with our new partnership and lend their support to grassroots football nationwide.”

Jonathan Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the FAI, added: “We are really pleased to welcome Circle K on board as our Official Fuel and Convenience Partner for the coming four years. This partnership will support the Association and our national teams as we enter an exciting period on the pitch with the European

qualifiers and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Circle K have an exceptionally strong presence in Irish communities and our shared ambition for Circle K's sponsorship of the FAI Club Mark programme is to provide support to football clubs throughout the country to ensure good governance and recognise those operating at the highest standards within the game.”

News 6|Retail News|April 2023|
Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI. Gordon Lawlor, Managing Director of Circle K Ireland, and Jonathan Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the FAI, pictured at the launch of Circle K’s new partnership with the Football Association of Ireland.

Grocery sales increase with highest footfall since March 2020

TAKE-HOME grocery sales in Ireland increased in the four weeks to March 19, 2023, according to the latest data from Kantar, thanks to a month of celebrations which included Mother’s Day, St Patricks Day and the Irish rugby team winning the Six Nations Grand Slam. Value grocery sales increased by 13.3%, up from 10.2% in February, as the average price per pack increased by 13.8%.

“March was a busy month for Irish consumers, with plenty of events and opportunities to celebrate. We also welcomed longer, brighter days so we saw shoppers visiting stores more often,” explained Emer Healy, Senior Retail Analyst at Kantar. “Shopper visits grew 13% year-on-year, which is the highest level of footfall since March 2020. In actual terms, this means shoppers made two additional trips to stores in March.

“Although value sales are up significantly, grocery price inflation is still the driving factor rather than just increased spending,” Emer warns. “Grocery inflation continues to rise and now stands at 16.8%, with the annual grocery bill set to rise by €1,211 if consumers don’t make changes to their shopping habits.”

In the 12 weeks to March 19, 2023, take-home grocery sales increased by 9.5%, contributing an additional €268 million to the overall market performance, as shoppers returned to store more often (up 7.7%) and average price per pack increased by 13.9% year-on-year.

“Consumers are opting to shop little and often to help manage their household budgets,” Emer revealed. “Basket mission really drives growth for the overall market, up 25.1%, with shoppers spending an additional €119.6 million year-on-year. The indulgent mission grew 17.7% year-on-year, as shoppers made more indulgent trips in line with the festivities in March.”

Irish shoppers took advantage of St Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday this year to celebrate the long weekend in style, resulting in a 10.4% boost to sales in March. Sales of Guinness were up 6.7%, equating to an additional €623,000, with one in 10 Irish households purchasing the beverage in March. With many tuning in to watch Ireland win the rugby Grand Slam at home, Irish supporters also consumed more savoury snacks and soft drinks, with sales hitting €3.5 million and €4.4 million respectively.

March also saw shoppers stocking up on Easter essentials, growing an additional 20% on Easter chocolate. Large eggs proved to be most popular, with sales up an impressive 86% year-on-year and shoppers spending an additional €3.8 million.

The Irish market continues to see much stronger own label growth

Senior appointment at Aldi

ALDI Ireland have appointed one of their senior executives to a new role within the business, a further investment in their Irish sourcing operations. Regional Managing Director Colin Breslin has been appointed to the new role of Managing Director of Buying and Services Ireland, reporting to Group Managing Director, Niall O’Connor.

Having joined the business in 2003 as an Area Manager, Colin has worked in several different roles in the Aldi business over the space of nearly 20 years, including Store Operations Director (both in Aldi Ireland and GB) before assuming a Regional Managing Director position in 2015.

In his new role, Colin will take responsibility for the Buying department in Ireland, alongside Marketing and Communications, National Real Estate, Human Resources, and some other service

(13.5%) than brands (6.2%), as shoppers look for ways to save money. Value own label saw the strongest growth (34.5%) year-on-year, with shoppers spending €18 million more on these ranges. Own label now holds a higher value share than brands – 47.3% compared to 47%.

Online sales also remained strong over the 12-week period, up 2.6%, with shoppers spending an additional €3.9 million online yearon-year. More frequent trips (4%) and higher average prices (15.5%) helped to drive growth.

Each of the major retailers continue to see positive results, with sales growth accelerating from February to March. Dunnes Stores hold the highest share amongst all retailers at 23.2%, with growth of 13.4% year-on-year. This growth stems from an influx of new shoppers to store, up 1.3%, and shoppers returning more often to store, up 4.7%. Tesco hold 22.1% of the market, with growth of 13.6% year-on-year, and the strongest frequency growth amongst all retailers, up 12.8%.

SuperValu hold 20.6% of the market and growth of 4.2%, with shoppers making the most trips in-store when compared to all retailers, with an average of 21.7 trips over the 12-week period, an increase of 12.1% year-on-year.

Lidl hold 13.3% share and growth of 11.7% year-on-year. An influx of new shoppers and more frequent trips contributed an additional €25.2 million to overall performance. Aldi hold 12.3% share with growth of 9.1% year-on-year, welcoming a boost in new shoppers alongside more frequent trips, contributing an additional €40.1 million to overall performance.

functions. This is a further investment in Irish sourcing by Aldi, who will buy over €1.1 billion worth of Irish products this year.

“At a time of rising inflation and a cost crisis severely impacting customers, having experienced people leading the business and guiding our teams has never been more important,” noted Aldi Group Managing Director, Niall O’Connor. “In Colin, we have a wealth of retail experience and leadership, and he will continue to support and drive our business forward, and particularly, our value promise to our customers at this time.”

Retail News|April 2023||7 News

Daniel O’Donnell stars in Gallaghers Bakehouse ad campaign

GALLAGHERS Bakehouse, the renowned bakery from the picturesque village of Ardara in Co. Donegal, has announced the latest instalment to its highly successful 2021 'Bread Made Better, The Secret is Out' campaign. The campaign celebrates the bakery's range of uniquely handcrafted sourdough breads and features Donegal legend, Daniel O'Donnell, in a light-hearted

ad campaign created by Edelman. The ad shows how Ardara, the home of Gallaghers Bakehouse, has become the Las Vegas of the Northwest, with tourists from all over the world travelling to sample its delicious bread. As a result, Daniel has become a pariah in the town, and must resort to desperate measures to get his fix of Gallagher’s Bakehouse.

Gala Retail strike new Starcamp sponsorship deal

GALA Retail have announced a three-year extension to their title sponsorship with Ireland’s number one network of children’s activity camps, Starcamp, who have added over 20 Starcamp with Gala Retail Easter camps to their schedule. As part of their annual, six-figure sponsorship agreement with Starcamp, Gala are providing over €10,000 worth of prizes for participating children and their schools each year and gifting every young person a co-branded bag and certificate of achievement. “The

strength of Starcamp is in the confidence that it gives young people, and with a strong presence across towns and cities across the country, there’s a real synergy with our 220 Gala Group stores, who are at the heart of communities across the country,” noted Gala CEO, Gary Desmond, pictured with Aideen O’Grady, founder, Starcamp (background) with children, Eva Jege, Lewis and Carrie Linden, and in the foreground, comedian Rory O'Connor, Rory's Stories, and TV presenter Lucy Kennedy.

Lidl donate over 4 million meals through FoodCloud

LIDL have announced the donation of more than four million meals to more than 350 charities through their partnership with FoodCloud. Lidl Ireland first partnered with FoodCloud in 2017 to reduce food waste and redistribute surplus food from the retailer’s 217 stores and distribution centres to local charities. This recent milestone achieved in April this year has resulted in over 1.7 million kg of food being prevented from going to waste and 5.3 million KGs of CO2 from being emitted. Pictured are J.P. Scally, CEO, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Aoibheann O’Brien, Co-Founder of FoodCloud.

2023 SuperValu TidyTowns competition launched

MINISTER for Rural and Community Development

Heather Humphreys TD is pictured with Ian Allen, Managing Director of SuperValu, and school children Vanessa Novak, Oliver Novak and Tom Heffernan at the launch of the 2023 SuperValu TidyTowns Competition, celebrating 65 years of transforming communities, in Trim, County Meath – the winners of the 2022 Supervalu Tidy Towns Competition. Minister Humphreys thanked SuperValu for their continuing support and enthusiasm through their nationwide network of retailers’ support groups: “This is SuperValu’s 32nd year of sponsorship of the TidyTowns Competition and they are championing awareness of the competition, especially in areas of biodiversity and sustainable living.” Ian Allen said, “We are thrilled that SuperValu has been chosen to continue our sponsorship of the TidyTowns competition for the next five years and are very grateful to the Department of Rural and Community Development for this exciting opportunity.”

€3.9 million Lotto win in Duleek

A SMALL village in Co. Meath is celebrating Lotto success once again after the National Lottery announced that Duleek village was the winning location of the March 18 €3,987,540 jackpot win. Bowe’s EuroSpar in the centre of Duleek village sold the all-important winning Quick Pick ticket on the day of the draw. Duleek residents are no strangers to recent Lotto success, following another €8.9 million jackpot win in October last year. Store owner Shane Bowe is pictured celebrating with staff members, Lilie Murray, Betty Arnold and Marnus Bota, along with Jim O’Connor of the National Lottery.

Industry News 8|Retail News|April 2023|

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Tesco reveal new Clubcard Reward Partners

Londis scoop National Digital Award

LONDIS are celebrating after winning the prestigious and hotly contested Social Media Campaign of the Year Award for their advertising campaign ‘Overheard in Londis’, featuring Liam and Des, at the 2022 National Digital Awards. “We are delighted with how our campaign resonated with our customers and the general public,” noted Suzanne Weldon, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, BWG Foods. “Londis is a brand that is always seeking to evolve and this award is just recognition of how we are continuing to challenge ourselves and grow our overall offering and enhance our brand.” Gillian Rigley, Londis Marketing Manager, and Darrol Holden, Londis Brand Manager, are pictured receiving the Award from sponsors Milkbottle.

Barry’s Tea at the heart of art in national competition

TESCO Ireland have announced that The AA and Royal Caribbean International have joined their hugely popular Clubcard Reward Partners programme. The two newest Reward Partners join a host of market-leading partners giving Tesco Ireland customers the chance to avail of exclusive deals and savings across days out, restaurants, entertainment, travel and more. “We know that Clubcard has the power to not only unlock great value prices in-store and online, but through our Clubcard Reward Partner programme, customers have access to added value through our market-leading partners,” revealed Cathal Deavy, Customer Director, Tesco Ireland (pictured).

“We’re delighted to announce The AA and Royal Caribbean International as our newest Reward Partners. With demand for domestic and international travel on the rise, the two new reward partners represent another great way for shoppers to save even more.”

ICONIC Irish brand Barry’s Tea have collaborated with artist Claire Prouvost to create an engaging piece of art inspired by the nation's love of Barry’s Tea. This beautiful piece will be on billboards across the country and is also being turned into a limited edition Barry’s Tea branded crew neck sweatshirt, perfect for the Barry’s Tea super fan in your life, available to buy at This exciting collaboration is to celebrate and spread Barry’s Tea ‘We Make the Tea, You Make the Art’ campaign message, which calls on budding amateur artists to submit their Barry’s Tea fan art to be in with a chance of winning a very exciting prize - the winner will have their

Barry’s Tea fan art turned into a limited edition crew neck sweatshirt and blown up onto a show-stopping billboard, as well as a cash prize of €1,000, plus their artwork will be used in national OOH and social media campaigns.

Lidl open new Clonmel store

TIPPERARY LGFA player and Lidl LGFA brand ambassador, Aishling Moloney, joined the team at Lidl Clonmel, located on Queen Street, to officially open the new store recently. The retailer has created 25 new jobs at the store, bringing the existing team in Clonmel Queen Street to 45 employees. The new store has a spacious layout featuring high ceilings and wide aisles. The store will also provide increased natural light for customers and employees, with glass fronted glazing, LED lighting and an energy efficient system, provided by 100% green energy. The store grounds will provide ample customer car parking with EV charger points. A new addition to the store will see Lidl Clonmel introduce bike and scooter charging facilities for customers and the community to avail of. Pictured are (l-r): Gráinne Hedont of Cancer Care; Dermot Ryan, Lidl Sales Operations Manager; Tipperary LGFA and Lidl LGFA brand ambassador Aishling Moloney, and David Holba, Lidl Clonmel Store Manager.

Mulroy’s Londis Castlebar donates electric car to Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation

MULROY’S Londis Castlebar, owned and operated by local businessman Alan Mulroy, has donated a brand new car, worth in the region of €45,000, to a raffle in aid of Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation. The car, a Hyundai Kona Electric, which features the latest smart tech and drives up to 484km on a single charge, was won by Londis Castlebar at last year’s annual BWG Foods Trade Show in Dublin. However, Alan and the rest of the team at Londis Castlebar were determined to share the win with the wider community by supporting a critically important local resource. Pictured are (l-r): Shane Hopkins, Londis Regional Development Manager; Martina Jennings, Chief Executive Officer, Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation; and Alan Mulroy, owner of Mulroy’s Londis Castlebar.

Industry News 10|Retail News|April 2023|

Sustainability at the core of strategy

RETAIL Ireland recently launched its new three-year strategy ‘A Sustainable Future for Irish Retail’. Arnold Dillon, Director, talks us through the strategy and other challenges facing Irish retailers in the months and years ahead.

“Our previous strategy actually ran out a couple of years ago,” explains Arnold. “It was due to be reviewed in early 2020 and then the pandemic hit, which put a lot of long-term planning and strategy development to one side, because the whole sector, including ourselves in Retail Ireland, were caught up with trying to address the immediate challenges.”

Work on the strategy began last year, when the spectre of Covid-19 had finally started to recede, and Retail Ireland began engaging with members, both directly and via workshops, as well as a wide member survey which identified priorities for the coming years.

The resulting strategy sets out three major priorities for the sector and identifies a range of specific actions under each theme where Retail Ireland will support the Irish retail sector over the coming years.

The three overriding priorities set out in the strategy are: Sustainable Growth, Sustainable Careers and Sustainable Communities. They cover the business environment, the key role of people in the future of the sector and the role that retail must play in supporting environmental change and wider society. All three pillars are underpinned by the unifying theme

of sustainability, which has become an intrinsic part of every business decision.

“It’s right at the top of the priority list for a lot of retail businesses,” Arnold agrees. “They are bringing together their own individual strategies to their businesses and supply chains, obviously cognisant of pressing concerns around climate change, around the changing needs and priorities of their customers, and in the context of a lot of new expectations coming from Government and from the EU. Our strategy sets out to address these issues across the three key pillars.”

Sustainable Growth:

Economic growth for the retail industry positively impacts society as a whole and delivers quality, value and choice to the consumer. In this challenging operating environment, identifying opportunities to improve competitiveness and innovation, while also supporting long-term growth, is crucial. As part of this focus, Retail Ireland and its members will aim to advance initiatives and policies to promote retail investment and digitalisation, drive sustainable growth and deliver an innovative, resilient and competitive retail environment.

“This is about the business environment in which retail is operating and trying to ensure that businesses are able to thrive in that,” Arnold reveals. “A lot of our work in Retail Ireland is in the area of cost competitiveness, and that challenge

Even well-resourced HR departments are struggling to adapt to the raft of new legislation, given the pace with which it is coming at them, so one of our big asks is that while some of the ambitions of policy are worthy, they should be set out in a manner which is realistic for those businesses on the ground who will have to implement them and who they will affect the most.
Retail Ireland’s new strategy has sustainability at its heart. Arnold Dillon, Director, talks us through the new strategy, explains why sustainability forms a key element in every business decision going forward and examines the other challenges facing retailers in 2023.
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has become really acute in the last year in relation to inflationary costs, like rising energy prices. These are also huge issues for consumers in terms of cost-of-living concerns. These issues are increasingly on the radar of retailers and as an association, Retail Ireland are doing all we can to ensure the environment is conducive to growth, so we are working with members and also engaging with Government when it comes to specific issues. “

Sustainable Careers:

A key priority highlighted by Retail Ireland members is people, skills and careers in the sector, particularly given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the recruitment and retention of staff.

“Retail is an incredibly labour intensive business,” explains Arnold. “Our people are core to the success of retailers, so we have devoted one pillar to how better we can support our people working in the industry, and more broadly to support skills, training and lifelong learning in the sector. Through the Retail Ireland Skillnet Apprenticeship Programme and the wider Skillnet, we have tangible channels

where we are trying to ensure that retail is an attractive career, with obvious and engaging career paths.”

Retail Ireland are particularly proud of the Apprenticeship Programme: “We have now had two successful cohorts of students go through the Programme, during the challenging time of Covid,” says Arnold. “Since its inauguration, the Apprenticeship Programme has gone from strength to strength; it has been delivered in Dublin and Galway and this year it will also run in Cork for the first time. We have just gone through the reaccreditation process with QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland), so a lot of effort has gone in to ensuring it remains effective and relevant for those who want to advance their skills and approach retail as a career opportunity.”

Sustainable Communities:

Environmental sustainability will be a key focus of the sector over the coming years and Retail Ireland will support its members as the industry continues to transform how it operates. From improving energy efficiency, increasing

the use of recycled materials and reducing the use of plastic to championing the wider circular economy, tackling environmental issues is now a both a social and commercial priority.

“Environmental sustainability touches on all the policies that need to be put in place to ensure that businesses can make the transition to a low-carbon economy, so that includes issues like the energy mix and energy security but also key areas like the circular economy and the supply chain,” Arnold notes. “We want to try to ensure that legislative policies are effective, so that businesses are able to contribute the maximum they can to addressing some of those wider climate targets.”

City and town regeneration

On a wider social level, retail is central to communities across the county, creating jobs, supporting local sports clubs and being involved in charities nationwide. By recognising sustainable communities as its third key priority, Retail Ireland will support practical policies focusing on investing in making towns and city centres nationwide more attractive.

Retail News Interview Retail News|April 2023||13
Arnold Dillon, pictured with Shane Flynn, Retail Ireland Chair and Managing Director of Aramark, at the launch of Retail Ireland’s new strategy, ‘A Sustainable Future for Irish Retail’.

“What we’ve seen is that while there was a massive increase in online spend during the pandemic, we are now back at similar levels of in-store spend to pre-Covid times,” Arnold reveals. “There has been an appetite for people to get back into shops and have that shopping experience, but where people shop is changing. With a lot of people still working from home, we are seeing some of that consumer spend moving into the suburbs, and people are shopping in different ways and at different times. People might not necessarily be in the city centre to work but they may drop in to shop and we need to provide them with great destinations and experiences. All of those factors need to be part of our approach to ensure we have towns and cities that are attractive for shoppers; obviously retailers have their part to play in that but what I believe is really important is the interconnection between retail, hospitality, cultural life, parking etc. and there is a really big job there for town and city planners. It also ties into the housing issues, whereby we need town and city centres that are great places to shop, work and live.”

Essentially, Retail Ireland is looking for joined-up thinking at both a State and Local Authority level to ensure retail businesses can approach the future in a progressive, sustainable manner. As new EU and Irish legislation moves towards a circular economy, including increased recycling and collection rates for various packaging materials, there are challenges ahead on the road to sustainability.

“Big changes have to be made and retailers are very up for playing their part in that transition,” Arnold stresses. He notes how many retailers are already investing a lot of time, energy and money into examining supply chains, as well as energy efficiency. “In a lot of cases, there is a significant upfront cost involved in changing some of these processes, and we are working with Government on a range of initiatives around that, to ensure we get the policies right, the approach right and that businesses are equipped to make these changes successfully,” he notes, citing the example of solar energy, where Retail Ireland have done a lot of work.

Deposit Return Scheme

The forthcoming Deposit Return Scheme is another area where Retail Ireland and its members have been engaging with Government and with the operators of the scheme, Deposit Return Scheme Ireland CLG, trading as Re-turn.

“A lot of work has been going on around the Deposit Return Scheme. Registration is now open for retailers with a ‘go live’ date of February 2024, which isn’t long away at all,” Arnold warns. “A very significant amount of work will need to be done in the background by retailers to make sure that the scheme is successful and viable into the future.”

Retailers have been critical of the lack of detail about how the scheme will operate. While registration for retailers

is now open and there is some clarity around key areas, there are still areas that need to be addressed, the Retail Ireland Director warns: “We are still waiting for confirmation that some of the reverse vending machines will be exempt from planning permission, for example, which we are hoping to get over the coming weeks, and also details of the VAT treatment of the scheme. These are big issues for retailers who are trying to reconfigure stores, order these vending

Retail News Interview 14|Retail News|April 2023|
Arnold Dillon: “There is clearly a political ambition to press ahead with labour market initiatives and changes but from a retailer perspective, we would ask they are done in a managed way across a realistic timeline.”

machines and put them in place.”

While the plan is to have a pay-back model, whereby the cost of installing the reverse vending machine essentially pays for itself over a period of time, the initial “significant cost” of installing the machines is to be borne by retailers.

Labour legislation: time to be realistic

In a time of ever-tightening margins, anything that increases costs is an issue, but the biggest single cost challenge for retailers is the cost of staff. New legislation such as auto-enrolment into pension schemes, mandatory sick leave for employees, are putting increased pressure on retailers when they can ill-afford it.

“The labour market is a massive issue for the sector and has been right at the top of our priority list since we emerged from Covid,” Arnold reveals. “There were real challenges in terms of recruiting staff post-pandemic, and while some of those challenges have dissipated a little, there is now a whole raft of labour market

initiatives coming from Government. These are obviously important on the political timetable, but retailers are the ones who will have to implement them. Sometimes, there is a disconnect between what politicians think is feasible and trying to manage them on the ground.”

As a labour-intensive business, employing a massive 300,000 people across the country, the cost of these new labour market changes is typically multiple times that of other sectors.

“There is clearly a political ambition to press ahead with these changes but from a retailer perspective, we would ask they are done in a managed way across a realistic timeline,” Arnold sighs. “In addition to the cost element, which is a big concern, there is also a capacity challenge; many businesses are trying to manage a whole range of different changes at the same time. Even well-resourced HR departments are struggling to adapt to the raft of new legislation, given the pace with which it is coming at them, so one of our big asks is that while some of the ambitions of policy are worthy, they should be set out in a manner which is realistic for those businesses on the ground who will have to implement them and who they will affect the most.”

Antisocial behaviour and staff harassment

Another big concern and one highlighted in the media recently, is the growing concern around retail crime and harassment of store owners and their staff, which has become a huge problem for many retailers.

“This has become more of a challenge as we emerged from Covid,” Arnold admits. “We went from a situation where retailers were frontline workers delivering essential services to widespread harassment of retail staff and there is a certain frustration amongst certain parts of the retail sector that this problem continues and has become more acute. Certain business and certain locations seem to be subjected to this kind of behaviour more than others and it’s clearly at a level that is incredibly worrying

for businesses and people working within those businesses. We’ve had a number of meetings with Government ministers and Gardaí on this and it’s something we will continue to work on.

“We are working with HR departments in terms of how we can support staff wellbeing, but a lot of that is after the event and the real challenge is to see how we can stop these things happening in the first place,” he continues. “I think increased awareness of it as a problem and a clear message going out that this sort of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated is an important step in demonstrating to retail workers that we have their back and that the support is there for them.”

While admitting that there is no “silver bullet” to solving this issue, the Retail Ireland Director feels that increased Garda resources, namely more officers on the streets, is a key element of combatting this antisocial behaviour: “A more visible Garda presence would be a tangible thing that would make a real difference.”

A cautious optimism

Finally, despite all the challenges ahead, from cost increases to new legislation, Arnold is cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. He points to a positive employment outlook for the months ahead, as well as positive predictions for tax returns, but warns that inflation is still a big concern.

“Current projections predict that inflation this year will be around 4.5%, which is still high by historic standards,” he admits. “We are certainly in a very different cost and inflationary environment than we have been used to over the last 15 years, where in many instances there was negligible inflation across various parts of the retail sector. There is huge competition across the sector, which has kept inflation low for so many years, and that competition is still there and will drive moderation in inflation as we move through this year.

“There are certainly still big challenges out there but on a positive note, some of the worst fears we may have had around energy costs in the autumn of 2022 have not materialised. There has been some good fortune in terms of a relatively mild winter across Europe and the successful build-up of energy reserves, and we also recognise the significant contribution from Government in terms of supports for businesses and, hugely important for the retail sector, supports for consumers, which will hopefully help to bolster consumer sentiment in the coming months.”

Retail News Interview Retail News|April 2023||15
The Retail Ireland Director has called for a more visible Garda presence on our streets.

New range from Free’ist

AS more and more consumers look for healthier snacking options, an Irish chocolate brand is leading the way with a range of decadent treats that offer consumers a ‘better-for-you’ option to reduce sugar without sacrificing taste.

Passionate about helping people reduce their sugar intake, Free’ist Chocolate was founded in 2013 by Belfast businessman Gerard McAdorey and to mark its 10th birthday, the innovative brand has relaunched its original milk and dark chocolate range with a new and improved recipe.

The company has also introduced a new no-added-sugar, plantbased product - tapping into growing consumer demand for milkbased alternatives.

Research shows that the Republic of Ireland is on course to have the highest rates of obesity in Europe by 2030 (Source: Mintel, Healthy Eating – Salt, Sugar and Fat, Ireland, February 2020), with Northern Ireland not far behind, so it’s no surprise that demand is rapidly rising for ‘free from’ and ‘better-for-you’ products, as people adapt to a healthier lifestyle.

The ultimate, indulgent ‘better-for-you’ chocolate

With this in mind, Free’ist has developed a variety of ethically sourced, indulgent snacks that are sweetened from plants and contain no added sugar, palm oil or artificial flavours. Of course, whilst health has never been more important to consumers, it counts for little if the product doesn’t taste good, which is where Free’ist really comes into its own.

Using the Fino De Aroma cocoa bean from Columbia, the best the world’s plantations have to offer, and working with world-renowned chocolatiers to perfectly roast, temper and refine the flavours, Free’ist has created what founder Gerard McAdorey believes is the ultimate, indulgent ‘better-for-you’ chocolate.

The ‘free from’ category is projected to grow by 41% over the next five years, driven by dairy alternatives, so the brand has announced a range extension which includes a selection of no-added-sugar, plant-based bars, made from the finest oat m!lk to create a creamy, indulgent snack that melts in the mouth.

The plant-based range launches with a four-strong portfolio, including Oat Chocolate and the indulgent flavour extensions of Oat with Raspberry, Oat with Coconut, and Oat with Almonds.

“Across the globe, people are adapting to healthier lifestyles, which has been a huge driver in the demand for products that are free from sugar, dairy and artificial ingredients,” explains Gerard McAdorey. “They still want to be able to treat themselves in a healthy, responsible and guilt-free manner, but taste will not be sacrificed, so we have worked tirelessly to perfect this over the past decade.

“Now, as the brand celebrates its 10th birthday, I’m delighted to say that I believe we have finally cracked it. The passion, skill and talent of our chocolatiers has enabled us to create our best tasting range of Free’ist products, while committing to ethical sourcing that uses only the finest quality ingredients.”

All Free’ist chocolate is bean-to-bar traced and ethically sourced, with single origin Columbian cacao beans, no added sugar, no palm oil, no artificial flavours, no soy, no gluten and non-GMO. The newest vegan-friendly plant-based range from Free’ist is made from the highest quality oat m!lk for a creamy, indulgent taste.

Plant-based sweetener

“While sugar levels are the biggest concern amongst consumers, they are also very wary of artificial sweeteners, and there is a growing and widespread demand for plant-based sweeteners,” Gerard explains. “It was this insight, gathered from our comprehensive consumer research, that drove us to find a steviabased solution for our products.”

The full Free’ist range consists of six no-added-sugar milk and dark chocolate bars (Free’ist Milk Chocolate, Free’ist Milk Chocolate with Orange, Free’ist Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, Free’ist 70% Dark Chocolate, Free’ist 70% Dark Chocolate with Mint, and Free’ist 70% Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt), and four new no-added-sugar plant-based, dairy-free bars (Free’ist Oat M!lk, Free’ist Oat M!lk with Raspberry, Free’ist Oat M!lk with Almonds, and Free’ist Oat M!lk with Coconut).

Listings for the brand have already been secured with major multiple retailers across the island of Ireland, including Tesco, Dunnes, SuperValu and Spar. The launch will be supported with a heavyweight trade and consumer media spend, targeted at female shoppers aged 18-44, which will see the brand invest into sampling, digital advertising, social media, ambassadors, events and PR.

“Free’ist was created 10 years ago on the back of consumer demand for alternative healthier snacks, and, as we enter our second decade, we continue to put the consumer at the heart of our brand,” concludes Gerard. “We believe that ‘great taste’ and ‘betterfor-you’ belong together, and we are passionate about reducing

16|Retail News|April 2023| Chocolate
Irish company Free’ist is celebrating its 10 birthday with a new range of ‘no added sugar’ and ‘dairy free’ chocolate bars. Gerard McAdorey, founder of Free’ist Chocolate, and Brand Manager Kaitlyn Martin launch the company’s new improved range of chocolate bars.

Predicting the future of retail

The recent TU Dublin Retail Symposium saw a wealth of speakers assessing the current state of Irish retail and predicting the trends and technologies likely to shape its future.

THE Annual TU Dublin Retail Symposium took place on March 20 & 21 at the Faculty of Business, City Campus, Aungier Street, Dublin. The symposium focused on smart retailing and the development of smart retailing strategies through innovative technology adoption, featuring a variety of speakers from academics to members of leading FMCG companies and the grocery retail sector.

Austin Hughes, Former Chief Economist with KBC Bank, shared his insights on consumer sentiment: “Ireland has kept an annual record of consumer sentiment since 1996. This is particularly important because economics is a social science, and much of what happens in an economy is related to how people ‘feel’ about what happens rather than the precise details of what is happening. In 2008, the Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) in Ireland hit the lowest point since records began and this

reflected peoples’ reaction to the severe banking crisis. 2020 saw another low point as the pandemic hit and late last year, levels fell to similar lows as we were hit with spiralling energy costs and rampant inflation.”

However, the latest CSI figures show an increase, which he described as very good news: “It reflects the fact that people have survived a very difficult winter, energy costs are reducing and there are some reasons to be optimistic about the rest of the year. Having said that, the figures for February 2023 are way below where they were in February of 2022 since that survey was completed just before Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent spike in food and energy prices. The precise number of the CSI does not matter as much as the trend, and we are seeing an upward trend so far this year. The value of knowing this is that it can help brands

prepare a strategy for how to interact with consumers over the year.”

Economist Jim Power provided some additional context for the retail sector here, “Ireland had one of the most stringent lockdowns in Europe. When we emerged from it, there was a lot of optimism and a spending boom. However, the supply chain had been disrupted and demand exceeded supply, which led to some inflation. This likely would have balanced itself out before long, were it not for the invasion of Ukraine by Russia last year, creating huge pressure on food and energy prices. The major result of all of this was dramatic increases in interest rates, which came as a shock to consumers who had become used to historically low interest rates over the previous decade.”

Power went on to stress, however, that the Irish economy is quite resilient

TU Dublin Retail Symposium 18|Retail News|April 2023|

at the moment. “Our GDP is strong; our tax revenues are very strong; we are at full employment; our export levels are high and growing; and while consumer confidence is fragile, it is improving. Retail sales volume here shrank last year by -0.6% but due to inflation, the value of sales actually increased by +7.5%, which is good news for Irish companies and brands. The trick is how to find a value proposition that you can present to your customers and how to use all the tools available in the digital age to communicate that proposition effectively to your customers.”

The mega trends to watch Owen McFeely, Director of Retail & Consumer Practice, PwC, explained how PwC Ireland have identified five “mega trends affecting Irish companies and what they mean for markets over the next 1020 years”. These mega trends are: Rapid Urbanisation, Climate Change, Shifts in Global Power, Demographic & Social Changes and Technological Developments. “We first identified these trends back in 2013 and it is now clear that they have transformed our world even faster than we had predicted they would,” McFeely said.

Climate Change is affecting the world and consumers’ purchasing decisions more than ever before, McFeely explained: “We are coming to a point where it will seriously affect the viability of global supply chains, which will directly affect

Irish companies’ abilities to import and export goods and services. We are also at the point where technology related to dealing with climate change is creating new opportunities, markets and jobs. By 2030, nearly half the world’s population will be living under severe water stress, which will significantly impact production and consumption patterns globally.”

Technological disruption is another trend that has accelerated rapidly, according to the PwC Director: “The latest developments in AI may well have significant impacts on employment in the future. It may also allow us to develop models that will be far better at predicting future actions and spending patterns. There are also now far more ways to interact with consumers than ever before and consumers are far better informed and with more choice of how and where to shop than ever before.”

He highlighted how certain demographic shifts are having a real impact, such as the significant ageing in the populations of developed countries, which will not only impact areas like healthcare, but also on things such as food and consumers goods as older people tend to purchase less volume and less often. “It should be noted that Ireland’s population demographic is not set to skew as old as many other European nations until after they do,” McFeely noted. “This

means companies focused on the domestic market will need to make different plans to those more focused on exports.”

A global outlook

Taking a global view, McFeely noted how shifts in global power have seen the influence of the United States diminish over the last couple of decades and the rise in influence of China. “Does it make sense to manufacture product in China?” he asked. “What about the rise in importance of rare earth elements in modern devices and electric vehicles? Companies also need to consider how robust their access to the supply of their raw materials will be and whether relying on imports from abroad is sustainable.”

Social instability is a trend that could have “very negative impacts,” McFeeley warned. “As fewer people hold a greater proportion of wealth, you need to decide if your brand is exposed to risks associated with dissatisfaction. France and the UK have seen significant disruptions for companies as a result of significant and sustained strike action. You should also consider how exposed you are to attacks from disaffected hackers, who can take advantage of technology to disrupt supply.”

McFeely concluded that “big trends mean big decisions for Irish companies to make, but by being aware of them, you can

TU Dublin Retail Symposium Retail News|April 2023||19
❛ ❛
Big trends mean big decisions for Irish companies to make, but by being aware of them, you can at least take steps to inform your decisions better and plan for the future accordingly.
Cathal Deavy, Customer Director, Tesco Ireland.

TU Dublin Retail Symposium

metaverse and that notion of a virtual space for shopping will likely arrive in the future. It offers a huge amount of potential, because of the information that can be collected on users and any virtual Tesco that a user might use in the future can be laid out in precisely the same way their local Tesco is, making it easy to navigate. The ideas around VR shopping are exciting but it will be some time before those ideas become a reality.”

The power of data

Data is a hugely valuable commodity in terms of understanding customers, and Deavy revealed that over 50% of Tesco shoppers are Clubcard customers, giving the retailer access to “incredibly rich data about our shoppers”.

at least take steps to inform your decisions better and plan for the future accordingly.”

Practical ideas

Cathal Deavy, Customer Director, Tesco Ireland, shared some very practical ideas on retail with the symposium. Deavy worked with Coca-Cola and Unilever, before starting in Tesco Ireland just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. “Obviously the pandemic forced us to make really significant changes in the way we ran things,” he admitted. “One thing that stood to us is that we had been preparing for Brexit and supply issues resulting from that. As a result, our warehouse in Donabate, which is one of largest buildings by volume in the world and the only building in Ireland visible from space, was very well stocked.”

One of the biggest changes in shopping habits brought about by the pandemic was the rise in online grocery shopping. “The pandemic advanced our plans for online by about three to five years in a matter of months,” he noted. “We are years ahead of where we expected to be and we have had to react accordingly. What we have found is that profitability is extremely hard to find in online grocery; it simply has more costs. We need to pick the product and deliver the product and it is a very intensive operation. We have recently had to increase what we charge for deliveries to reflect the significant increase in costs, but that is the first increase in years. We need

to supply our customers in a way that they want but also one that is sustainable for us. Depending on how the delivery sector grows here, we may bring in same day delivery, which Tesco does offer in the UK.”

Tesco have been looking at the virtual space as well, as Deavy explains: “Full VR grocery shopping is a while away in Ireland. There is much talk about the

“We have the potential to offer incredibly personalised promotions to our customers and that is certainly going to be a growth area over the coming years,” he stressed. “It is an area we are looking at very closely and it will allow us to offer personalised value to our Clubcard shoppers that will genuinely save them money and increase their loyalty to our brand.”

Ireland enjoys “some of the highest standards in convenience retail in the world,” Deavy maintains, predicting that eCommerce is going to be an everincreasing part of convenience retailing in the future. “Thinking about how the future of eCommerce will develop and

Economist Jim Power addressed the TU Dublin Retail Symposium. Pictured are Dr Edmund O’Callaghan, Head of Discipline Retail/E-Commerce, School of Business Technology, Retail & Supply Chain, Faculty of Business, TU Dublin, with Owen McFeely, Director Retail & Consumer Practice, PwC, and Matthew Hopkinson, Managing Director at Didobi.
20|Retail News|April 2023|

how it will allow us to use our position to take a greater share of the convenience sector is one of the most interesting and exciting things we do at the moment. But again, it must be customer-led, with Tesco responding to wants and needs of Irish consumers as they change.”

Accessing the customer journey

Sean Higgins, MD of Future Proof Insights & Future Proof Media, shared some really interesting information on the field of neuroscience and retail marketing. “We are taking research to the next level by measuring electroencephalography, eye tracking, galvanic skin response and facial coding by using devices that technology has made smaller and easier to use than ever. The problem with market research is that people do not always know why we do what we do. By using technology to measure exactly what people do and how their brain reacts to stimuli, we are able to provide retailers and brands with a deep understanding of how and why people shop the way they do.”

This kind of innovative technology allows them to understanding precisely how people navigate their shopping experience by letting them go inside the customer journey. He cited the example of how in the western world, shoppers, when searching for goods on a shelf, go top to bottom, left to right, because that is how we read. “We have also found that

producing a high mental workload, as in when a product is hard to find, will result in a relatively short search by consumers and a high likelihood of abandoning the purchase,” he noted.

For most consumers, contrast attracts attention, as does any motion of movement that can be injected into the process, Higgins explained. “The ‘follower effect’ means that customers will look where other people are looking or pointing - it is just human nature - and brands and retailers can use this to make the shopping experience easier for their customers, increasing spend and building loyalty.

“Creating motivation or desire in customers is difficult and brands spend billions in marketing doing it,” Higgins

stressed. “The reality is that if you make the shopping process easier, people buy more and are happier with the outcome and it can be done in a much more cost-effective manner when you understand the journey.”

Higgins predicted that the area of Virtual Reality is “going to add a whole new dimension to all of this once it becomes more prevalent. But the same fundamental truth will hold: the easier you make the purchasing process for your customers, the more you will sell.”

The TU Dublin Retail Symposium offered some fascinating insights into the current state of grocery retail in Ireland and some very interesting ideas to consider about what the future of grocery retail will be over the coming decades.

TU Dublin Retail Symposium Retail News|April 2023||21
If you make the shopping process easier, people buy more and are happier with the outcome and it can be done in a much more cost-effective manner when you understand the journey.
❛ ❛
Sean Higgins, MD of Future Proof Insights & Future Proof Media, addresses delegates.

Product Identification and Data Sharing GS1: setting the standards for data sharing

Product identification and data sharing standards from GS1 will help drive consumer engagement, while boosting efficiency, lowering costs and supporting sustainability, writes

MEETING the expectations and requirements of consumers, regulators and trading partners for sustainability-related information will require a new level of product data availability and management across the entire supply chain. The three pillars of sustainability – Environment, Social and Governance – create a significant challenge in terms of data collection and sharing for all trading partners. Breaking the barriers of data silos and ensuring that data is accurate, interoperable and up-to-date will be key to success.

The added efficiency benefits of standards-based data management

Investing in your product data management capabilities will help drive consumer engagement while boosting efficiency, lowering costs, and supporting your sustainability initiatives and regulatory compliance.

To respond to the need for more information and transparency from consumers, trading partners and regulators need high quality, trusted data. However,

reliable sources of information can be costly and difficult to manage.

With product identification and data sharing standards from GS1, millions of companies across the globe exchange product data and unlock a wide range of benefits.

50 years ago, in 1973, grocery industry leaders started a retail revolution by creating the well-known GS1 barcode, which offers a way to provide information about an item’s cost, help stores manage inventory and checkout operations, and facilitates efficient re-ordering.

Today, GS1 continues to innovate with renewed global data standards fit for the digital world, unlocking new benefits for all stakeholders.

Enable your business to be more responsible and sustainable: Support all your ESG initiatives Sustainability programmes and circular economy initiatives need a clear way for organisations up and down the supply chain to identify and trace companies, locations,

products, ingredients and more. With GS1 identifiers, suppliers and retailers can define and share information about a product’s make up, the raw materials it contains, its origins and details of its journey from supplier to end consumer. New standards, including GS1 Digital Link, can also enrich the consumer experience, enabling shoppers to interact with and explore a product’s credentials.

Reduce food waste and increase food safety

With two-dimensional barcodes such as GS1 Data Matrix, retailers can more efficiently manage stock and facilitate faster sell-through for fresh products that are approaching their expiry date, for example. If an expired or recalled product is scanned at the checkout, a 2D barcode can alert the cashier and customer that the item should not be sold. Evidence shows the retailers have reduced food waste by 40% to 50%, thanks to these barcode scanning capabilities (Sources: ‘Brazilian gourmet shop scans the world’s

22|Retail News|April 2023|
tomorrow transforming years of

Product Identification and Data Sharing

product registry so trading partners and consumers can verify the data. By utilising the Verified by GS1 service, connected to the Global Registry retailers, marketplaces, wholesaler and distributors can check and share accurate, trusted data flows through the value chain.

Using GS1 barcodes, you can enable your business to connect and interact with customers and create richer consumer experiences.

first 2D barcode with a GS1 Digital Link’, GS1, 2022; ‘Woolworths Australia seeing multiple benefits from 2D barcodes’, GS1, 2022).

Enable your business to be more efficient and cost effective by sharing high quality product data, which improves efficiency and reduces administration for all parties along the value chain.

Reduce costs and streamline operations GS1 standards and best practices for data sharing will streamline business processes and enable companies to reallocate time and effort to tasks that bring more value. It is expected to see a 30% to 60% reduction in the effort needed to exchange product data with parties across the supply chain (Source: ‘Want to improve consumer experience? Collaborate to build a product data standard’, McKinsey & Company, April 2020).

Using GS1 barcodes, you can enable your business to connect and interact with customers and create richer consumer experiences.

By scanning two-dimensional (2D)

barcodes, consumers can find the whole story behind products: where they originated, what they contain and where they have been during their supply-chain journey. Retailers see 5% to 10% fewer returns when consumers know more about products before they make a purchase.

Enable better online sales success by making products easier to find and buy online

Products with a GS1 digital identity can have up to 40% better ad performance (Source: ‘GTIN requirements are expanding soon’, Google, 2016) and 20% higher conversion rates online (Source: ‘Reach more customers online: Add GTINs to your Google Shopping data feed’, Google, 2015). Retailers and marketplaces can speed up product listings and sell product faster when brands provide information in a standardised way. Better data availability and product searchability can increase online sales by 5% to 10%.

Start realising these benefits today

How can you go about realising some of these benefits for your organisation? Consider the following checklist and for further help and support chat to the Industry Engagement team in GS1 Ireland.

1. Ensure that every single item in stores or online has its own global and unique digital identify, known as a GS1 GTIN - Global Trade Item Number.

3. Start to use a multi-purpose 2D barcode (QR code or GS1 DataMatrix), encoded with GS1 standards, to unlock a whole range of ways to deliver new experiences to consumers and to improve business operations, while supporting the checkout process instore.

4. Use GS1 data sharing standards, including EDI messaging standards for orders, despatch advice notices and invoices, ensuring reliable, accurate and complete information gets to everyone, enabling more efficient and costeffective processing and operations, while simultaneously supporting a more transparent and traceable supply chain.

Using GS1 barcodes, you can enable your business to connect and interact with customers and create richer consumer experiences.

2. Connect all newly issued GTINs and digital identities to the GS1 global


Your next-level product data management capabilities start with leveraging standards-based, globally unique and consistent identities for all products. True efficiency and widespread benefits are delivered when all trading partners work together to drive industry forward. GS1 facilitates its members' ambitions by bringing the whole community together, aiding collaboration and supporting all industry partners to build the required supply chain and data ecosystem.

For further information and support, contact GS1 Ireland today to learn how you can maximise your implementation of GS1 standards to support your achievement of your sustainability and efficiency goals. Visit for more information.

Retail News|April 2023||23
With two-dimensional barcodes such as GS1 Data Matrix, retailers can more efficiently manage

Retail Ireland: Monthly Update

Proposed Alcohol labelling could undermine single market

PLANS by the Government to introduce new health warnings on alcoholic beverages are going ahead despite the absence of a collective EU-wide approach. The move has raised serious concerns amongst retailers and drinks manufacturers that significant additional trade barriers will be created to the import and export of goods between Ireland and the rest of the EU.

In June 2022, Ireland notified the European Commission of its intention to introduce additional rules on labelling of alcoholic beverages. The proposed new labels would include additional health information about alcoholic products to consumers. The requirements will see information such as calories and grams of alcohol per container, a link to a health information website and a warning to inform consumers of the danger of alcohol consumption. It would include two written health warnings, ‘Drinking alcohol causes liver disease’ and ‘There is a direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers’ in red uppercase letters. The final feature of the proposed labels would be a logo discouraging alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Industry concerns have been raised in relation to the possible risk that introducing these proposals potentially risks undermining the EU-wide action plan by the European Commission, which is also proposing to bring in mandatory health warnings on labels by the end of 2023 under Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. The proposed draft regulations in Ireland would likely be inconsistent with the European wide model, which risks a failure to achieve maximum impact and efficiency of such measures.

In February this year, Ireland notified the World Trade

Organisation of its proposal to bring in these regulations despite the ongoing opposition from a number of other member states. This would be the last procedural step before Ireland can adopt the legislation. Once signed into law, retailers of alcoholic beverages will have three years to ensure their products bear the indicated warnings, either as part of the package design or as a sticker.

Member states in opposition have urged the European Commission to engage in discussions with the Irish Government in order to avoid trade barriers and maintain a harmonised European approach, while still ensuring that consumers remain informed. However, the European Commission has shown no willingness to get involved in this issue.

Since last Christmas, there has been significant media attention brought to this issue across various member states in an attempt to prompt intervention by the European Commission. There has also been some push-back coverage supporting this proposal. Retailers have always been supportive of ensuring consumer safety and transparency in the products they sell. Additionally, many of the leading drinks producers are already implementing labelling policies across the EU to enhance consumer transparency and awareness of the possible health risks of harmful alcohol consumption.

Retail Ireland has been working with its umbrella association, EuroCommerce, in Brussels to set out these concerns to the European Commission. Work is still ongoing to highlight these issues with our European counterparts.

Retailers to register for Deposit Return Scheme

PLANS to introduce Ireland’s new Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles and cans are ongoing, with a plan to formally launch to the public by February 2024. Retailers will be required to charge a deposit on products that are in-scope and have the facilities to take back those products unless qualified for an exemption. In-scope containers refers to PET bottles and Aluminium/Steel cans with a volume between 150ml and 3000ml. There are also specific labelling and barcoding requirements.

For those who are a retailer and a producer/importer of in-scope drinks containers, you must register as

Tel: 01-6051558 |

Need more?

a retailer and a producer separately. For retailers with more than one premises, it is important that you register per company and per site.

A new registration portal for system participants including beverage companies, retailers and other impacted operator was recently introduced. Ensuring that all parties are registered and compliant with their obligations is an important element in the overall planning for a successful launch. As such, impacted companies who have not yet done so are encouraged to complete the registration process via Re-turn’s website at

For more information about Retail Ireland and details of how your retail business can benefit from our unique services and supports, please visit us at

24|Retail News|April 2023|


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Musgrave MarketPlace committed to customer service

‘Business Made Easy’ is the new commitment from Musgrave MarketPlace to their clients, with a huge focus on customer service, as well as extending their range and continuing to offer great value.

MUSGRAVE MarketPlace have unveiled a new positioning for their brand; ‘Business Made Easy’ is a renewed commitment from the Irish business with customer service placed firmly at its heart.

Musgrave MarketPlace are the only 100% Irish-owned national foodservice wholesaler and are committed to supporting Irish jobs, Irish businesses, and the future of the foodservice industry across the island of Ireland.

Now, at a time when businesses are facing many challenges, Musgrave MarketPlace are focused on building the strongest service proposition in the market, whilst providing the most extensive range at the best value. The new brand positioning, ‘Business Made Easy’, brings all these commitments together.

“At Musgrave MarketPlace, we are committed to building trusted relationships with our customers, while delivering exceptional service,” explains Desi Derby, Marketing Director for Musgrave MarketPlace. “We have listened to our customers, who tell us time and time again that our commitment to customer service is a key strength and that will always be the case.”

Several changes have been made across the business to improve the overall customer experience, responding to industry trends and customer needs. Currently servicing more than 50,000 customers through seven branches across the Republic of Ireland, the brand refresh follows significant investment in digitally transforming the business in 2023.

Digital innovation

A new online digital platform now offers customers a one-stopshop for all their business needs, stocking more than 14,000 products available for delivery; the largest online ordering service for the hospitality and foodservice sector on the island of Ireland. Covid-19 accelerated a move to digital for many customers, with Musgrave MarketPlace seeing online as the fastest-growing channel for their customers and an expectation that 60% of orders will come through online by the end of 2024. “It was crucial that we invested in making our online ordering experience as simple and user friendly as possible,” reveals Desi Derby.

Cash & Carry / Wholesale Focus: Musgrave MarketPlace 26|Retail News|April 2023|
Musgrave MarketPlace Marketing Director Desi Derby launches Business Made Easy alongside customers Suzy Kavanagh, Kavanagh's Marino House, and Zahir Udden Barber, McNally’s Newsagents.

Cash & Carry / Wholesale Focus: Musgrave MarketPlace

“The digital space is a core part of our strategy, and we are committed to innovating in this space further to deliver a world-class customer experience.”

Speaking of innovation, Musgrave MarketPlace are kick-starting 2023 by launching their new mobile app, giving their customers an additional method to order in a fast, efficient and easy way. With features like intuitive search, a barcode scanner allowing customers to scan a product and add it straight to their cart, plus access to order history, the app will give customers instant access to the full range of products at their fingertips. This new app is now available to download from the App Store and Google Play Store.

Range expansion

Expansion in both range and produce have included more vegan and healthy ingredients, as well as Butchers Prime, a premium Irish Angus and Hereford meat range, and Brewdoo Coffee, a bean-to-cup and barista coffee proposition for the hospitality sector.

In addition to the 14,000-plus core range products on the Musgrave MarketPlace website, customers can now also buy from their Extended Range. Extended Range is a specially curated range of products which trusted suppliers can sell directly to Musgrave MarketPlace customers on the e-commerce platform, everything from artisan Irish food and beverage products to restaurant furniture, packaging and equipment. The platform supports small Irish producers by providing them with a way to bring their products to market, with the ambition to have over 12,000 Extended Range products on the platform by 2024.

New on-trade beverage team

The Musgrave MarketPlace on-trade beverage team was formed in 2021 in response to customer demand for a one-stop-shop for all their on-trade needs. From beer, premium spirits and an exclusive on-trade wine range, to soft drinks, equipment and snacks, they’re making business easier by having everything in one place. Offering support on industry trends like cocktails and premiumisation, advice and expertise, their highly experienced team has over 300 years’ combined experience in the on-trade. The company has invested in new trucks and recruited drivers across its nationwide branch network to form part of the dedicated team to service on-trade customers.

One of the team’s areas of expertise is wine, with Wine Specialist Conor O’Brien on hand to support customers. The team are passionate about working closely with customers to create a tailored solution to grow your wine business and can provide one-on-one wine tasting sessions, wine menu development and training for staff.

The branches

The seven Musgrave MarketPlace Branches are now open seven days a week with extended opening hours, click & collect and extended delivery routes. With time as our most valuable resource, nationwide delivery and the 24/7 online ordering system allows customers to shop at a time that suits them.

The people

The Musgrave MarketPlace people are at the heart of their business and bring ‘Business Made Easy’ to life. The growing team in-branch, including product specialists in Alcohol, Fruit & Veg, Meat, Coffee and Non-Food Ranges, are always on hand to offer reliable, trustworthy advice and expertise to discover the best solution for your business. Equally, the entire team collaborates closely with customers to understand their needs and challenges, as well as offering solutions to help the growth of their business.

“The service enhancements and range expansion over the past year are all designed to bring our new promise to life,” concludes Desi Derby. “We appreciate our customers operate in busy and challenging environments and our new promise is all about making their life that little bit easier. Importantly, it will also focus colleagues on making business easier for customers. If it doesn’t meet that criteria, then we don’t do it; it really is as simple as that.”

Musgrave MarketPlace: Business Made Easy. Find out more about Musgrave MarketPlace at
Retail News|April 2023||27
The Musgrave MarketPlace branches are now open seven days a week with extended opening hours, click & collect and extended delivery routes. Extended Range is a specially curated range of products which trusted suppliers can sell directly to Musgrave MarketPlace customers on the e-commerce platform.

Cash & Carry / Wholesale Focus: Value Centre

Value Centre: understanding their customers

FROM 21 strategic locations around the country, the strength of Value Centre’s unique position in the Irish marketplace is predicated on a local workforce of subject matter experts who take great pride in serving their customers. It is this approach that ensures Value Centre’s local network of Sales Reps has invaluable local knowledge and experience to support each customer. The Sales Team is truly passionate about providing the best service possible, whether in-branch or on the end of a phone, to ensure a convenient service for all. It is about exceeding customers’ expectations, not just meeting them, which is what sets Value Centre apart within the industry.

Getting the product mix right

As part of the BWG Foods Wholesale Division, the Value Centre network works closely with an expert team of buyers who closely monitor consumer behaviour and the latest trends to ensure every Value Centre Cash & Carry branch has the right product mix available for their specific customer base. With access to an expansive range of more than 10,000 products, Value Centre customers are never left short.

BWG’s Cash & Carry Sales Director, Paul Bealin, is very proud of the Sales Team: “It is a very talented and dedicated expert team and each member is truly

passionate about what they do. They are hugely committed to helping our customers succeed and pride themselves on the value-added service they provide those customers. The local knowledge they possess is invaluable and really sets us apart. We take great satisfaction in seeing our customers prosper and their businesses perform.”

Significant investment

Of course, Value Centre’s nationwide success is not due to a single factor but a combination of them, including significant

investment made by BWG Foods to upgrade the branch network, improve efficiencies and deliver a more positive customer shopping experience. This is achieved through a robust strategic acquisition strategy, combined with a strong investment policy.

The recent relaunch of the redeveloped, state-of-the-art Value Centre Ennis, following a major €1.2 million investment, is testament to this ambition. The substantially extended facility, which employs approximately 40 people locally, relaunched for customers on February 8, following

The true secret to the ongoing success of the Value Centre network of Cash & Carry branches is the deeply customer-centric approach that permeates the business. Knowing your customers, understanding and anticipating their needs and exceeding their expectations is at the very heart of Value Centre’s offering.
Pictured at the official re-opening of Value Centre Ennis are John McMahon, Manager, Value Centre Ennis (centre), with Leo Crawford, Group Chief Executive, BWG Group (second from left) and special guests RTE’s Marie Crowe and Clare GAA stars Tony Kelly (left) and David Tubridy (right).
28|Retail News|April 2023|

Cash & Carry / Wholesale Focus: Value Centre

a nine-month redevelopment process.

Situated on the Kilrush Road, Value Centre Ennis has expanded from 33,000 to 55,000 square feet, allowing the cash and carry site to significantly grow and enhance its chilled and frozen food offerings, in addition to its existing ambient offering.

“This project importantly reinforces our confidence in the local economy and our commitment to local businesses and is part of a wider strategic plan,” explains Paul Bealin.

William’s Gate

The growth of the Value Centre Cash & Carry network is further complemented by the recent addition of BWG’s new dedicated meat and master butchery business, ‘William’s Gate’ and is the perfect example of how BWG’s Wholesale Division continues to differentiate itself within the industry.

William’s Gate is now a leading supplier of high-quality meats to discerning food businesses all over Ireland, including restaurants, hotels and gastropubs. Operating from a state-of-the-art facility in Galway and driven by a promise to provide the highest quality meats to customers, William’s Gate produces everything the professional chef requires and is able to satisfy all the protein needs of the catering industry, from classic hand-crafted butchery to sausage making, curing, chicken processing, burger production and more.

Tailored promotional offer

Now offering its customers more choice than ever before, Value Centre also prides itself on its vast array of promotions offering hundreds of reduced prices throughout the year. By providing a tailored promotional offering, Value Centre can offer all customers

incredible value. Providing customers with an added-value service is truly essential to the Value Centre business model and there is even further value to be had through the BWG Own Brand offering, which consists of a retail range, ‘Family Value’, and a catering range ‘Chef’s Kitchen’. Both ranges are benchmarked and tested against the market leader or branded equivalent and offer attractive savings, without compromising on the quality of the product.

Being part of the BWG Foods family also means that the Value Centre network is constantly innovating and availing of the supports that come with a larger wholesale partner. This is particularly evident in the area of IT development, with BWG’s awardwinning e-commerce platform ‘Shoplink’ allowing customers to connect seamlessly to an EPOS that is fully integrated and live with the supply chain.

As a result, Value Centre customers can access ‘Shoplink’ 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, enabling them to do business more efficiently and giving them back more of their time for other aspects of their business.

“We are actively leveraging artificial intelligence throughout our business and are currently exploring exciting ways in which this technology can benefit our cash and carry customers into the future,” noted Paul Bealin. “In today’s world, it is crucial to ensure we have the right technology which will allow our Sales Reps to access data and relevant offers for the customer at a touch of a button. We have one of the largest sales teams in the wholesale industry and advances in technology teamed with invaluable knowledge and experience are critical to helping our customers succeed.”

First to market

One of BWG Wholesale’s greatest strengths is the continual expansion of their range,

which offers customers more choice than ever before. The business also prides itself on being first to market with new products, thereby giving their customers the opportunity to gain an advantage over competitors.

“We are confident that we have a strong offer for our customers. We are constantly analysing the market and adapting and adjusting to ensure our customers have access to the best and most competitive offers out there. We run national promotions every three weeks, with further tactical activity generally centred on seasonal opportunities, offering customers incredible value all year round,” reveals Paul Bealin. “We are working tirelessly to meet the needs of our customer base and part of this is ensuring each Value Centre Branch has their own local deals for their specific customer base.”

In essence, after serving the people and businesses of Ireland for more than 50 years, BWG Foods Wholesale Division remains confident of its ability to continue to provide value to those customers and retain its place as one of Ireland’s largest and leading Wholesale and Cash & Carry businesses.

Paul Bealin, BWG’s Cash & Carry Sales Director. Value Centre has a vast array of promotions offering hundreds of reduced prices throughout the year. Value Centre customers can access BWG’s award-winning e-commerce platform ‘Shoplink’ 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Retail News|April 2023||29

Stonehouse celebrates successful year

The last year has been extremely buoyant for the Stonehouse Group, according to its retiring CEO, Tom Shipsey, who predicts a bright future for both Stonehouse and the wider Wholesale/Cash & Carry business.

THE last year has been an “extremely buoyant period for the Wholesale/Cash & Carry business,” according to Tom Shipsey, outgoing CEO of Stonehouse. “With people continuing to work remotely, the local store has become a focal point of the community. People are trying to shop local and are conscious of supporting local jobs and services, while trying to reduce transport time etc. as we strive for greater sustainability.”

The foodservice side of the business was “naturally worst hit” through the Covid period and has been “slower to bounce back”, Shipsey maintains. “However, the second half of 2022 showed a remarkable turnaround, with Christmas being particularly buoyant,” he adds. “Stonehouse is close to being back at pre-covid levels on the foodservice side of our business.”

Positive effects of Brexit?

The retiring Stonehouse CEO believes that Brexit has actually had some positive repercussions for the Irish Wholesale/Cash & Carry sector. The UK leaving the European Union has led to Irish cash and carries “looking to both Irish and European suppliers as the fall-off in trade with the UK continues,” Shipsey explains, with the result that many Irish suppliers have stepped up to fill the void left by UK suppliers. “Relationships have become stronger and a joint vision of the route ahead identified,” he surmises.

Stonehouse has combatted the twin challenges of Covid and Brexit “exceptionally well”, according to Shipsey: “Stonehouse members pride themselves on being lean, flexible, in tune with their customer base and at the heart of the community. With local community-based shopping becoming more relevant, Stonehouse has increased its presence, improved its logistics and put more feet on the street to service our local markets.”

Stonehouse has greatly increased its offering in both food and non-food items, with products seen in recent years to be ‘multiple packs’, like sharing, larger formats, fun size etc. now key to Stonehouse’s promotional offering.

What makes Stonehouse different?

When asked what the traditional cash & carry/wholesaler offers its customers and what Stonehouse brings to the table that its rivals cannot, Shipsey’s answer is simple and immediate: “Price, product, place and purpose!” He describes Stonehouse’s USP as “Our attention to detail, our relationships with suppliers and customers, our understanding of the community we serve and our desire to learn.”

Having led the wholesale group since its inception in 2000, nobody is better equipped to assess its future and that of the independent Wholesale/Cash & Carry business in Ireland than the retiring CEO.

“Stonehouse has gone through massive change, even within the last six months,” he states. “The group and members have relished this challenge, increased our presence in the marketplace, taken on new members and have a strong belief in its sustainability going forward. More than half of our members have now introduced the next generation into the business. To see their enthusiasm, energy, desire to improve and vision for the future is probably what gives me greatest confidence for our future as independent family businesses.”

Cash & Carry / Wholesale Focus: Stonehouse 30|Retail News|April 2023|
Tom Shipsey is retiring as Stonehouse CEO after 23 years at the helm.




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Bottled Water

Deep RiverRock hits number one

Deep RiverRock has claimed the number one spot as the most popular impulse water brand on the island of Ireland.

DEEP RiverRock is now the number one impulse water brand on the island of Ireland, as verified by NielsenIQ February Value Sales Report (Source: NielsenIQ Total Island of Ireland Value Sales, 4-weeks sales to 25/02/23). After 22 consecutive months of growth in the market, Deep RiverRock, which is sourced beneath the glacial hill of Co. Antrim, has become the number one go-to brand for on-the-go consumption.

Number One? Nice One!

Introduced to the market in 1994, Deep RiverRock is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, all naturally occurring within the source. In 2021, Deep RiverRock embarked on a new strategic direction with the launch of it’s Nice One! campaign, reflecting the brand’s positive, feel good and irreverent tone of voice with the support of its brand ambassador, comedian Tony Cantwell.

In 2022, Deep RiverRock Vital was launched, giving consumers a refreshing new vitamin enhanced water and juice drink packed full of deliciousness to support the mind and body. The juicy vitamin boost contains important vitamins and minerals that support mental performance, cognitive function and energy boost throughout the day. The campaign, ‘Skip to the Vital Stuff’, set out to cut through the noise for a timepoor Gen Z audience and deliver only the ‘Vital’ information that Deep RiverRock Vital is the juicy vitamin boost!

With a commitment to sustainability, Deep RiverRock was the first water range on the island of Ireland to move to 100% recycled bottles in 2019. The brand continues to innovate to eliminate unnecessary plastic from its packaging, making the Deep RiverRock bottle one of the lightest on the market and reducing plastic through smaller bottle caps.

A significant milestone

Speaking about its success, Shane McQuaid, Brands Marketing Manager, said: “Today marks a significant milestone for Deep RiverRock in claiming the number one spot as the most popular impulse water brand on the island of Ireland. Since launching in

1994, the brand has transformed the market, leading the way in sustainability with the first 100% recycled bottles in 2019 and the launch of new flavours and our new vitamin enhanced water and juice drink, Vital, in 2022. Deep RiverRock reflects a modern, optimistic and changing Ireland, one where sustainability and health are key to the consumer. 2023 will present another exciting year for the brand with a lot more to come!”

32|Retail News|April 2023|
Brand ambassador and star of the Nice One! campaign, comedian Tony Cantwell celebrates the news that after 22 months of growth, Deep RiverRock has become the most popular impulse water brand on the island of Ireland.

Green goals:

the gap between promises and action

While sustainability is a key concern for both consumers and businesses, there is often a gap between what we say and what we do in both our personal and corporate lives. We examine the issues and reveal some of the companies making real, measurable progress.

SUSTAINABILITY is the future; we all understand that. Climate change is having a devastating effect on our planet, an issue which we need to address to protect our home for future generations, with almost every week bringing stark warnings from public bodies about the dangers if we don’t act quickly to address rising temperatures.

Companies and brands have realised this. Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry Sustainability Survey from September 2022 found that 82% of global experts consider that climate action is very or extremely important for their business, and companies are rushing to embrace Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria like never before.

However, Euromonitor believe that most companies fall short when it comes to ESG “as their intentions and commitments far exceed the number of real actions taken”. Indeed, while Euromonitor reveal the food and beverage industry are the leaders in ESG reporting, only 15% of companies in this sector publish ESG reports.

Greenwashing & greenhushing

Indeed, the gap between promises and action on sustainability has given rise to the terms ‘greenwashing’ or ‘greenhushing’, for those who are hesitant to share progress on sustainability goals to avoid external scrutiny. The EU plans to crack down on inflated claims around products’ environmental credentials through the introduction of ‘proportionate’ penalties.

With accusations of greenwashing being likely to increase as punishments are formalised, leading global assurance company LRQA are encouraging organisations to relieve any concerns about sharing updates by adopting independent verification to inform progress against sustainability goals.

“While greenhushing may seem like a viable option to avoid any potential external scrutiny, it could have a detrimental impact on our collective progress towards a more sustainable future,” argued Heather Moore, Technical Director for Sustainability at LRQA. “Organisations have a big role to play

Sustainability: ESG Retail News|April 2023||33
Image from
Heather Moore, Technical Director for Sustainability at LRQA.

Sustainability: ESG

in achieving global sustainability targets. As such, they need to feel confident when speaking about progress, so they can share their wins and losses and learn from each other. Third party verification is one way to regain confidence when communicating progress, as it helps to prove the improvements being made.”

According to LRQA, the role of independent verification and certification frameworks will be key to demonstrate more transparent and accurate sustainability commitments, in turn reducing the risk of being criticised for a lack of progress or misrepresenting data. ISO 14064, for instance, is a standard for greenhouse gas accounting and verification for organisations looking to quantify and reduce emissions, helping companies hit projected greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Do consumers really care?

New legislation is pushing us towards a more circular economy, but the real push is coming from consumers, with 76% of those surveyed by Euromonitor believing that climate change is shifting consumer demand, with two thirds of consumers concerned about climate change, according to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles survey.

However, a new study from an Irish consumer neuroscience agency came to the controversial conclusion that consumers don’t care about sustainability as much as they say they do.

“Shifting consumers towards more sustainable behaviours is a challenge that most brands and retailers have tried to tackle over the past decade, at great cost, time and resources. However, we have repeatedly found that there isn’t much evidence to suggest that the shift in attitude towards sustainability is leading to proportional changes in proenvironmental behaviours,” noted Seán Higgins, Future Proof Insights MD.

Future Proof Insights carried out a month-long study using EEG, Eye Tracking and Facial Expression Analysis to test the impact of 30 messages from 30 brands/ products, categorised into three message types: Traditional Creative & Promotional, Sustainability, and Purpose Driven for both commodity and luxury goods.

“The challenge with motivating consumers towards sustainable shopping is that, if you ask people to use more mental effort evaluating the validity of an environmental claim, and then ask them to pay more for a product that offers uncertain outcomes that may occur in the future, what do we expect people to do?” Seán Higgins asked. “Shoppers are unlikely to choose more demanding and costly products – in exchange for a short moment of gratification doing the right thing on an abstract level, for benefits that might accrue to someone else in the distant future.”

By measuring approach-avoidance measured directly from the participant’s

Pre-Frontal Cortex, Future Proof Insights were able to show approach behaviours predict purchase intent, while also showing a significant difference in the impact of sustainable communications for luxury and commodity goods.

Future Proof Insights’ research found that traditional and creative messaging is over 10 times more effective than sustainability messaging at driving purchase intent. The principle being, we approach what we want and avoid what we find off-putting. While sustainable messages were effective in general at driving approach behaviours, the benefits were marginal and costs too high to justify, relative to traditional creative approaches, the company believes. They also found that sustainable messaging is effective for luxury goods, but not effective for commodity goods.

Sustainable messaging was most effective at triggering learning and memorisation activity within the brain – this doesn’t necessarily reflect brand memorisation, it is most likely the activation of existing memory structures about environmental messaging, according to Future Proof Insights. Sustainability is a powerful message, but a risky approach because your brand gets lost as the message can overshadow the brand, according to Seán Higgins.

“It’s not that sustainability isn’t important, it just isn’t part of the purchase process,” Seán Higgins argues. “A lot of

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Future Proof Insights carried out a month-long study using EEG, Eye Tracking and Facial Expression Analysis to test the impact of 30 messages from 30 brands/products.

brands feel compelled to showcase their sustainability credentials, but what we’ve found is that sustainability is firstly, not as effective as creative messaging, and secondly that sustainability is not a OneSize-Fits-All approach, it is much more nuanced than that. It can have a positive effect as we’ve seen for luxury goods, but a negative effect for commodities. These findings will help brands and retailers define strategies that are based in genuine effectiveness for their category of brand and perhaps look at more impactful methods for changing behaviour to do their bit for the environment.”

A contrary view?

The Future Proof Insights study is slightly at odds with the findings of the Ireland RepTrak Sustainability Index 2022 study, which found that sustainability drives over 51% of an organisation’s reputation.

“Organisations are widely scrutinised on their alignment with social causes, their environmental impact, their behaviour, their values, and the internal culture they create,” noted Niamh Boyle, Managing Director, The Reputations Agency. “The public are more attuned to the reputation of an organisation than ever before, and for the public, actions speak louder than words. We know that sustainability, which in our study comprises environmental impact, social performance, conduct, and workplace, drives 51% of an organisation’s

Pictured with one of the solar panels being installed by Tesco Ireland are Luke Deasy, Operations Director, Enerpower, with Rosemary Garth, Director Communications at Tesco Ireland, and Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

reputation but for many, their sustainability reputation is holding their overall corporate reputation back. These more intangible drivers and factors are now more important to an organisation’s reputation than the products or services an organisation sells.”

The Ireland RepTrak Sustainability Index 2022 data highlights that investments in sustainability communication strategies make solid business sense, with the public nearly three times more likely to purchase from an organisation with an excellent sustainability score.

Certainly, Irish companies and brands have been embracing sustainable practices and communicating their achievements to consumers. Indeed, the continued success of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme is a testament to how important Ireland Inc. takes its environmental responsibilities.

Supermarkets’ sustainable sweep

Most of our big supermarket groups and many producers have made huge strides in sustainability, both in terms of cutting their energy usage through the adoption of energy efficient lighting and refrigeration systems and also through the installation of solar panels on building roofs and the adoption of electric vehicles for delivery fleets, but also through reducing or replacing the amount of packaging they use. Barely a week goes by without another announcement that tonnes of unnecessary packaging are being removed from circulation. Musgrave in particular

launched a major sustainability fund in June 2022, providing a share of €25 million investment in SuperValu stores across the country.

Tesco Ireland recently partnered with Enerpower to install more than two thousand Solar PV panels at their stores in Liffey Valley and Naas, the latest in a series of measures aimed at creating more energy efficiencies across the business. The roof solar panels will provide just under 20% of the electricity needs of the stores and will generate 745,000 kwh of electricity which will save 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. In total the two stores will generate enough power annually to run approximately 180 homes.

Tesco already source 100% renewable energy to power their network of stores, offices, and distribution centre. They also produce energy via a wind turbine at their Distribution Centre at Donabate, which generates 1.5 million kwh of electricity per year, of which 30% feeds back to the national grid.

“We are absolutely committed to a more sustainable store model, and we are very excited about what the installation at Liffey Valley and Naas can offer us in in terms of energy savings over time,” revealed Rosemary Garth, Director of Communications, Tesco Ireland. “We have already managed to reduce our overall energy consumption as a business by 25%, and we remain focused on our commitment to reach a net zero target of 2035 for our own operations.”

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Niamh Boyle, Managing Director, The Reputations Agency.

Irish beef sector issues sustainability report

Business groups too have been keen to communicate their green credentials. Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the Ibec sector organisation representing the country’s main primary beef processing companies, published its Irish Beef Sector Sustainability Report and roadmap to 2030 recently. There is a strong focus on how the beef sector will contribute towards the 25% emissions reduction target for agriculture, as set out in the National Climate Action Plan, with the focus for the coming decade centred around decarbonisation at processing level.

“Over the next decade and beyond, even higher standards of agri-food sustainability will be demanded in the marketplace,” revealed Philip Carroll, Chairperson of Meat Industry Ireland, at the report launch. “Customers will increasingly prioritise sourcing from suppliers that contribute to and support their own sustainability agendas. This provides a crucial opportunity for the Irish beef sector to reinforce its position as a solutions provider to deliver on customer targets.”

His views were echoed by Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue TD: “I believe all partners in the sector must come together to ensure that sustainability, in all its dimensions, is at the core of everything we do, as set out in our shared Food Vision 2030 strategy. Industry has a key role to play in ensuring this sustainability, and particularly in contributing to the sustainabilityeconomic and environmental - of its farm family suppliers.”

MyWaste offers guide to waste segregation for businesses

GUIDANCE designed to take the uncertainty out of waste segregation for businesses is now available from MyWaste, Ireland’s official guide to waste. This Government-funded initiative provides a free and extensive suite of signage and training materials to help workforces make accurate recycling decisions.

This will assist Irish businesses achieve greater circular economy performance through increased recycling and composting rates. A waste characterisation study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that almost 70% of materials being placed in the general commercial waste bins is waste that should be placed in the recycling or food waste bins. Targeted materials (those suitable for recycling) accounted for only 60% of the materials in the mixed dry recycling bins, with food waste among the contaminants.

The study found that by improving waste segregation practices, businesses could divert significant amounts of waste from the general waste stream annually.

Speaking on behalf of the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices, Kevin Swift, Connacht Ulster Region Waste Office, said, “This initiative will empower small and medium size businesses, particularly those in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing and corporate sectors, to further improve how their waste is managed. With clear language and visuals, the materials will make it easy for staff to quickly understand what waste goes in what bin. This should help significantly increase the amount of recyclables and food waste diverted from the general bin and correctly placed in the recycling and food waste bins.”

The toolkit is free to download or order from

36|Retail News|April 2023|
Sustainability: ESG
Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue TD is pictured at the launch of the Irish Beef Sector Sustainability Report and roadmap to 2030.
Go to to download a FREE toolkit designed to help you better manage your business waste. This toolkit includes posters, bin labels and a step-by-step guide to better business waste management.
Business Waste
Easily Sorted!

Sustainability: ESG

Packaging: Smurfit Kappa scores on sustainability

In the world of packaging, Smurfit Kappa has been named a top performer on sustainability by leading research and analytics company Morningstar Sustainalytics. Following a thorough analysis of global companies, Smurfit Kappa’s 2022 ESG Risk Rating improved, seeing the FTSE 100 listed company positioned in Sustainalytics’ list of Top Rated companies both for the industry and regional categories.

The ESG Industry Top Rated badge received by Smurfit Kappa is a global benchmark and reaffirms Smurfit Kappa’s ESG Risk Rating as ‘low-risk’. The rating was determined by several factors, including the company’s financial strength, circular business model and geography. In addition, Smurfit Kappa once again received the Regional Top Rated badge, which covers Europe and categorises Smurfit Kappa’s ESG Risk Rating as ‘low-risk.’

“It’s an honour to receive recognition from Sustainalytics for a second year which includes improved rankings and recognises our work in the field of sustainability by awarding us top rated both in the geographies and industry we operate in,” noted Garrett Quinn, Chief Sustainability Officer at Smurfit Kappa. “At a time when corporate sustainability strategies across the globe are under the spotlight for credibility, this is further strong validation of our well-established sustainability reporting and delivery and is another extremely positive development for Smurfit Kappa, our investors and all of our stakeholders. It’s a testament to everyone involved that these actions have been recognised again by such a reputable third party.”

The rating from Sustainalytics is one of the latest third-party validations of Smurfit Kappa’s leadership in sustainability, building on Smurfit Kappa’s recent CDP upgrade to ‘A-’ in climate and its leading ‘AA’ rating with MSCI.

Smurfit Kappa is a leader in the circular economy, providing sustainable, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable paperbased packaging solutions to over 65,000 customers worldwide.

Smurfit Kappa remains on target to deliver on its long-term goal to have at least net zero emissions by 2050, according to its 16th annual Sustainable Development Report, which highlights the company’s progress through continued capital investment, ongoing operational improvement and collaboration with customers and other key stakeholders.

Last year, Smurfit Kappa delivered

several landmark achievements highlighting its continued leadership in sustainability, including a world first in successfully trialling hydrogen in its Saillat paper mill in France and the announcement of the Group’s largest decarbonisation project in Cali, Colombia, involving an investment of almost €100 million. The company has achieved a 43.9% reduction in CO2 emissions since 2005 and 4% in 2022 alone, as well as a reduction in water consumption by 2.1% in 2022.

Tosca: reusing wisely

Another packaging innovator, Tosca, a global leader in reusable packaging and performance pooling solutions, has been awarded the prestigious EcoVadis Platinum Medal for its sustainability initiatives in Europe and the UK, placing Tosca in the

top 1% of the 90,000 businesses rated by EcoVadis every year.

“It is a true honor to receive EcoVadis’ top rating of Platinum and have our unwavering commitment to continuous improvement and ESG management independently recognised as something which is firmly embedded in our culture,” noted Karin Witton, Director of Sustainability. “We are proud to have progressed from Silver to Platinum in just two years, and have our work in Environmental Management, Labour and Human Rights, and Sustainable Procurement acknowledged. As a company whose vision is to convert all one-way packaging to reusables, being recognised by EcoVadis further demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing sustainable solutions to all our clients.”

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Tosca has been awarded the prestigious EcoVadis Platinum Medal for its sustainability initiatives. Smurfit Kappa has been named a top performer on sustainability.
Find out more at

Food waste advice from Origin Green

Origin Green has launched a new Food Waste Guidance document for member companies.

ORIGIN Green, Ireland’s national food and drink sustainability programme, has launched a new Food Waste Guidance document to support member companies to develop ambitious food waste targets and provide guidance on credible, effective food waste target setting.

To date, Origin Green members have committed to over 70 food waste targets and addressing the food waste challenge is a key priority for Origin Green manufacturing members. Within their waste target, they will identify if food waste occurs in their operations and if so, will seek to integrate company-wide actions to increase food waste prevention across their operations. For the retail and foodservice charter, food waste is a mandatory target for all members.

Webinar hosted by Origin Green

To support Origin Green member companies in developing credible and ambitious food waste targets within their Origin Green plans, Origin Green hosted a webinar to release their new food waste target guidance document. This document provides guidance for Origin Green members to enhance their existing food waste prevention actions as well as providing clarity on food waste target setting using the SMART target setting principle.

At the webinar, Martin Hofler, Sustainability Partnership & Development Manager at Origin Green, presented an overview of

the Origin Green Food Waste Guidance. He was joined by Odile Le Bolloch, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Food Waste Prevention Team Lead, to learn more about EPA’s recently launched Food Waste Protocol.

Attendees also heard from Carla McSorley, FoodCloud’s Head of Irish Partnerships, who shared the food waste prevention supports available to Origin Green members, and Jeni Meade, Communications Manager at Meade Farm Group, who explained how Meade Farm Group has become a zero-food waste facility by creating a new product, potato starch, that valorises their potato waste.

There was strong interest in the webinar, with over 60 attendees joining the session, made up of a range of company

Food Waste Target Guidance Pathways to Food Waste Prevention

March 2023

Sustainability: Origin Green 40|Retail News|April 2023|
Origin Green’s new Food Waste Guidance document is available online at

representatives and organisations, both from SMEs and large scale, global companies across the Irish food and drink industry.

Attendees particularly appreciated the list of suggested food waste intervention initiatives detailed within the report and being informed of the range of available supports from EPA, FoodCloud and other industry stakeholders.

A clear priority for consumers

“Addressing the food waste challenge is a clear priority for consumers, and is also a key goal for Origin Green manufacturing members,” noted Martin Hofler, Sustainability Partnership & Development Manager at Origin Green, who highlighted how Origin Green members have committed to over 70 food waste targets to date and expressed the hope that the webinar “will support our members to develop even more ambitious food waste targets within their Origin Green plans and provide guidance on credible, effective food waste target setting.”

Odile Le Bolloch, Food Waste Prevention Team Lead at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said; “In Ireland, we generate approximately 770,300 tonnes of food waste every year, and it is estimated that food waste generates about 8% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Today’s session with Origin Green members offered companies an overview of the EPA’s Food Waste Measurement Protocol, to support food and drink manufacturers to identify and quantify their food waste streams using a consistent approach, and inform actions to reduce their food waste.”

What’s in the food waste guidance document?

Origin Green’s new food waste guidance document helps companies to identify some basic aspects of how and where they generate food waste and the impacts it has on the environment. It then sets out to help companies to set SMART (Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Responsible, Time-Bound) targets in order to tailor a programme that works for each individual organisation.

The Origin Green document advises conducting a food waste audit to measure the magnitude and causes of food waste, and then companies can set a baseline, which is the foundation of your subsequent waste target. Once waste KPIs have been identified, and baseline data is collected and categorised, opportunities for improvement can be identified and prioritised, with a food waste management hierarchy prioritising the opportunities identified by a company to reduce their waste, from purchasing right through every stage of the production process.

The guidance document looks at key considerations from a management perspective, from ensuring that the targeted changes align with overall business strategy to managing change and engaging staff and management with the targets set.

It stresses the importance of checking progress regularly over a multi-year improvement project in order to remain focused and identify if you need to make a course correction. Gauging your progress also allows you to understand and celebrate achievements made, which can help with motivation and engagement.

There are three case studies in the document, including East Coast Bakehouse, ABP Food Group and Meade Farm Group, giving concrete examples of how changes made in different parts of the business can affect overall waste management.


The document also covers the foodservice sector, acknowledging that waste arising in the foodservice and hospitality sector

is materially different from that in manufacturing but also contributes a significant amount of food waste generated annually; the EPA estimated that foodservice waste amounted to over 178,500 tonnes in 2020. The EPA have developed guidance for the hospitality sector, helping businesses to estimate food waste in a consistent manner. This will allow you to track your performance over time, to compare your business with others in your sector and identify how you can reduce food waste and improve your bottom line. As an indicative figure you can multiply your annual food waste tonnage by 3,000 to get a cost of purchasing the avoidable fraction of your food waste.

It cites a 2013 WRAP study which found approximately 20% of all food purchased by foodservice businesses ends up as waste. On average, WRAP found that spoilage accounts for 21%, plate waste accounts for 34%, and food from preparation accounts for 45% of total generated food waste. These can be tackled through best practice techniques such as food waste measuring, monitoring and targeting initiatives, portion size reviews, controlled stock-take and ordering processes.

When considering the financial impact of food waste, waste management is typically the main consideration for foodservice businesses. However, it is important to highlight that this accounts for just a small percentage of the total cost. The true cost of food waste includes the cost of ingredients, labour, energy and utilities, administration and consumables.

Green Retail News|April 2023||41
The Origin Green document, ‘Food Waste Target Guidance: Pathways to Food Waste Prevention’, is available at origingreen/members-area/food-wastetarget-guidance-march-2023.pdf.
Martin Hofler, Sustainability Partnership & Development Manager at Origin Green.

SEAI supports for sustainable business

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland have a range of supports and grants for businesses looking to make sustainability improvements and to cut down on energy consumption and costs.

THE Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland is working closely with a variety of businesses across Ireland to help them identify ways to save money on their energy consumption. Heating and electrical costs have spiked dramatically over the last year and added significant operating costs to all sorts of businesses around the island.

At a recent webinar, the SEAI shared a variety of actions that businesses can take to identify how they consume energy and how they can reduce that consumption, as well as outlining the variety of grants and low interest rate loans on offer to businesses to support their transition to a more sustainable energy consumption model.

“Our Energy Academy is a free e-learning platform designed to encourage sustainable energy use behaviours and gives a wide range of suggestions on how to reduce energy use in the workplace,” revealed Ali Donnellan, SME Programme Executive, SEAI. “The academy is accessed through the website and we have over 5,500 learners taking advantage of free staff training to help deliver cost savings and reduce energy waste in the workplace. It is a fantastic first step for any business looking to save money and create an energy action plan for the workplace. We also have a range of tips on our blog to help with energy use and costs.”

Energy Audits

Eóin Cullen SME Programme Executive, SEAI, detailed the Support Scheme for Energy Audits: “A detailed energy audit is necessary for any business when considering the best way to invest in sustainable energy solutions for any business. We offer SMEs a €2,000 voucher to get an energy audit with an SEAI Registered Energy Auditor. Any small or medium enterprise with less than 250 employee and a turnover of less than €50 million that spends at least €10,000 on energy per year and is tax compliant can avail of the scheme. An energy audit is the way to learn exactly how your business consumes energy and gives detailed suggestions of the best investments in sustainable energy consumption to make, the cost of these investments and the repayment period. It is very important to know all this information before making any investment in your particular business.”

Ray Langton, Support Scheme for Renewable Heat Programme Manager, SEAI, explained how changes to your heating system can make a massive difference. “Heating is always a very significant expense for Irish businesses, in many cases accounting for over half of energy consumption,” he said. “The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat

(SSRH) gives a financial incentive to replace fossil fuel heating systems with heat pumps, biomass or biogas heating systems. It is suitable for any business using fossil fuels and offers investment aid through a grant of up to 30% for air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and water source heat pumps.”

Electric Vehicles

Conor Edgely, Electric Vehicles Programme Executive, SEAI, highlighted some of the supports available to business looking to purchase electric vehicles, “In 2022, we provided support for 11K vehicles for Irish businesses with a total of €53 million paid in grants. Electric Vehicles (EVs) save up to 70% on fuel costs, up to 60% on maintenance costs, as well as on tolls and motor tax. Choosing to use EVs saves a business significant amounts of money, as well as creating a positive brand image.

“There are SEAI grants of up to €3,800 for N1 class Vans and up to €7,600 for Larger Panel Vans, 3.5T N1 class. We also provide €600 towards charger installation. The scheme also provides €200 VRT relief for N1 vehicles and low VRT rates on passenger cars. Making the move to EVs can be an extremely valuable investment for any Irish business and our scheme is

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here to make that transition as easy as possible for any business looking to make the switch.”

Business and community funding

The SEAI have a host of business and community schemes available, with business-based schemes eligible for up to 30% funding, which rises up to 50% for community schemes, revealed John Flynn, Community & Housing Grants Programme Manager. He warned that the SEAI do not consider direct applications, however: “We must be presented with a collage of projects where improving sustainability is the focus and we work on projects that range from relatively small scale of €10K up to €20 million projects. Last year we supported 450 non-domestic projects valued at €170 million, with grants of €64 million and we are always looking to consider new projects to support. The application time is about eight weeks at

the moment, with a contract time frame of around 12 months. By creating a collage of projects, individual businesses or small groups can avail of the significant supports available from this scheme.”

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

Shane McCullough, Product Development Manager, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), explained what the SBCI is and how it can help Irish business looking to make the change to more sustainable energy use, “The SBCI was established in 2014,” he said. “It is owned by the Minister for Finance and our objectives are to reduce the price of borrowing for Irish SMEs, make access to finance easier and increase competition in the Irish credit market. We have to date provided €3,230 million in loans to 50,773 Irish SMEs.”

He described their Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (EELS), which can be found on the website and helps

businesses obtain preferential interest rates on loans to be used for investments such as solar panels, efficient heating/ cooling equipment, LED lighting and many more sustainable investments: “We help secure reduced interest rate finance for €10K to €150K loans with repayment terms of 1-10 years. The scheme as is remains in operation until December 31 this year. Our lending partners include AIB, Bank of Ireland, Capitalflow and additional lenders will be announced soon.”

The SEAI offers a huge array of supports for Irish business large and small to help them to understand their current energy consumption and plan how to reduce their costs, as well as providing access to grants or preferential loans with partners such as the SCBI. Any business looking to address their energy consumption costs should go the website to learn more about the supports they can avail of.

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Empowering consumers to make healthier choices

Killian Barry, Managing Director, Danone Ireland, argues that companies have to play their part in tackling the obesity crisis, alongside Government and consumers themselves.

WE all know that adequate nutrition plays a huge role in improving our overall health and wellbeing. As a health-focused company, Danone’s mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. This is what drives us.

The Healthy Ireland Framework 20132025 calls for collective action to improve the health and wellbeing of the population of Ireland over the coming generation, creating an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their part in achieving a healthy Ireland.

As a leading food and beverage company, we recognise the role we play in improving the health of the nation. For us, this means going beyond just meeting regulatory standards, but actively working to make healthier options the easy and accessible choice for consumers and providing clear, consistent guidance and information.

That is why we recently announced new health commitments for our dairy, plantbased and water categories in Ireland. Effective immediately, we commit that:

• at least 90%¹ of our product portfolio by sales volume will be non-HFSS (not high in sugar, salt or fat) as defined by current UK policy and legislation and referred to by relevant authorities in Ireland;

• and using this definition, we will never produce a product high in sugar, salt, or fat (HFSS) for children;

• at least 90% of our portfolio will be rated as “healthy” within the Health Star Rating Index.

These commitments will help to guide our innovation and reformulation efforts in the future as we prioritise health and will serve as the new minimum threshold to which Danone Ireland’s consumer brands in our dairy, plant-based and water categories, including Alpro, Activia, Light & Free, Actimel, Volvic and evian will be held.

Supporting consumers

With 35% of people reporting that they are overweight and 21% reporting that they are obese according to the 2022 Healthy Ireland Survey, we believe that everyone in the food and drink industry has a role

to play in supporting consumers to make healthy choices.

We believe this can be achieved through:

1. Prioritising healthy products

Consumers are increasingly concerned with the sugar and fat content in products; 62% are eating more healthily than they have in the past, 80% are regularly or occasionally buying low or no sugar options and 75% are regularly or occasionally buying low-fat options, according to the latest Kantar TGI Irish Consumer Data.

With more choice than ever before, committing to provide healthy products is the first step the food and drink industry can take in facilitating healthier choices. The HSE’s Healthy Eating Guidelines set out the types of products that form part of a healthy balanced diet and recommend that we avoid eating foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt every day.

These guidelines, alongside the UK Government’s definition of HFSS, which is referred to by relevant authorities in Ireland, and the international Health Star Rating Index - as well as other measures - can be used to help assess whether a product could be classed as healthy to ensure accurate and consistent compliance.

At Danone Ireland, we have committed significant efforts through innovation and reformulation to ensure our products are nutritious, while still tasting great. This is a priority for us, and we take pride in the fact that more than 90% of products across our dairy, plant-based and water categories are suitable for everyday consumption as part of a healthy balanced diet.

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2. Providing transparent information

Clear and transparent information on labels and on company websites ensures consumers have the information they need to make informed decisions about their food and drink. As an industry, we are required to comply with sector-wide standards and regulations in relation to labels, packaging, advertising and more.

We believe that when products meet the regulatory criteria to include specific health claims, adding such claims to packs helps people to differentiate between products in a busy supermarket aisle, to help them make healthy and informed choices about products. Danone Ireland has confirmed its intention to implement clear, consistent front-of-pack nutritional labelling.

We support all fair and proportionate regulations designed to drive positive change. However, we believe what is most important is consistency across regions so organisations can ensure streamlined compliance with Irish, European and UK standards. Setting a direction that everyone can follow will ensure a consistent approach is taken. As soon as these standards have been agreed upon by the Irish and UK Governments, as well as the EU, we will respond accordingly.

Until this time, we believe the best way to support consumers to make healthier choices is through clear health commitments. For us this is the best way we can uphold Danone’s high standards and give consumers assurances of the nutritional value of our products.

To hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate compliance with our health commitments, we will also publish nutritional data annually on our website, including how our products are ranked according to the Health Star Rating Index and HFSS guidelines, alongside product nutritional information.

3. Knowledge sharing

Collective effort is required across the industry as a whole to drive meaningful change and to educate and empower consumers to make healthier and informed choices.

As members of Food Drink Ireland, and as Vice-Chair of the Prepared Consumer Foods Council, we actively share knowledge and insights with our industry peers to promote a joint response to tackling health challenges in Ireland.

We want to help people understand what a healthy diet is and the nutritional value of different foods so they can make better choices. We work with several like-minded partners, including retailers and NGOs, to help develop consumer programmes, share knowledge, and promote the importance of healthy, sustainable diets and lifestyles. We recently announced a threeyear partnership with the social enterprise FoodCloud, whereby our in-house nutritionists and dietitians will be sharing nutritional information with FoodCloud’s network of over 600 community

groups and charities to help them better use surplus food they receive and prepare nutritionally-balanced meals.

Imperative for action

Levels of overweight and obesity in Ireland have doubled in the past two decades, with 61% of adults in Ireland now overweight or obese, according to the Government’s Obesity Policy and Action Plan (2016 – 2025) which puts the cost of adult obesity at an estimated €1.13 billion per annum.

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Obesity Report 2022 ranks Ireland ninth of 53 European countries for obesity in adults and 11th for overweight and obesity. Being overweight or obese is the fourth most common risk factor for non-infectious disease, like heart disease, cancers, Type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems and musculoskeletal conditions, according to the WHO.

The fact that the majority of our population is overweight or obese means that Ireland faces a dramatic increase in chronic diseases, placing an increased burden on individuals, society and our health system.

This issue won’t go away without action. The World Obesity Federation's 2023 atlas predicts that 51% of the world, or more than 4 billion people, will be obese or overweight by 2035 without significant action to address current trends.

Collective and consistent action across the whole of society is needed to address this public health crisis and drive the adoption of healthier diets and lifestyles.

As an industry, we have the power and resources to lead in driving positive change. We must support consumers to make healthy choices, and we have a responsibility to facilitate this by providing transparent nutritional information and prioritising healthy products within our portfolios.

We look forward to working with our partners in industry and continuing to engage with Government to deliver a healthy Ireland for everyone. This is not a nice-to-do option, it’s a must-do if we want to protect future generations from health challenges and inequalities. We are all part of the solution.


1Percentage calculated on one year of sales (October 2021-September 2022). The number includes the recipes reformulated in September 2022, combined with sales for a year. This means that SKUs reformulated to be non HFSS within the period (October 2021-September 2022) have been captured in the % non HFSS. The number assumes that post-reformulation sales remain at same levels and that mix for total portfolio also remains the same.

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The hugely popular Actimel brand from Danone. The deliciously smooth and creamy Activia yogurts have no added sugar and 0% fat.

Outlook brightens for 2023

A recent Love Irish Food webinar suggested that while the rising cost of living is impacting the grocery market, the worst may be over and the outlook for the rest of the year is improving.

GROWING inflation on groceries is increasing pressure on consumers and changing the way they shop, with one in five consumers struggling to make ends meet. This was one of the primary messages delivered in the Love Irish Food webinar, ‘Local Economy: Coping with the Present – Planning for Future Options’. While all this is certainly not good news for Irish consumers and businesses, research suggests that we may be past the worst of things and that the outlook for this year has improved during the first three months of the year.

“It is concerning to see consumers struggling as grocery prices increase but it is promising to see people continuing to buy Irish-produced food brands as part of the weekly shop,” noted Kieran Rumley, Love Irish Food’s Executive Director, in the opening address. “Despite the pressure on household spend, branded goods still dominate the grocery basket in Irish households. Buying more Irish-made products helps Irish businesses survive and protects Irish jobs, which is critical in the current climate and will be crucial in food security and driving economic recovery.”

Improving outlook

Gerard Brady, Head of National Policy and Chief Economist at Ibec, explained how the outlook has improved for both the domestic and global economy: “Energy costs on the wholesale market have fallen significantly, which will feed through to general market prices later this year and supply chain challenges are less than they were last year. In Ireland, domestic demand is expected to increase by about 3.5% this year, which is ahead of the average EU increase. The Irish economy still has some strong fundamentals such as very low unemployment levels. Overall income tax revenue in Ireland is up by a third since 2019.”

Love Irish Food 46|Retail News|April 2023|
Kieran Rumley, Executive Director, Love Irish Food. Gerard Brady, Head of National Policy and Chief Economist at Ibec.

Brady noted that “consumer confidence is definitely lower than it was prepandemic”, but stressed that it has been improving in the first three months of this year despite people still dealing with much higher than normal energy bills: “We expect to see a further improvement in consumer confidence this year and we are less worried about inflation this year than last year. Increases in interest rates are a concern, but with over half of Irish mortgages set at fixed rates, interest rate increases in Ireland do not hit consumers as hard as they do in Europe. Overall, while Ireland is still in a period of challenges, the outlook is better than it has been for a number of years and there is reason for some optimism for Irish companies.”

Tesco’s commitment to Irish suppliers and consumers

Another speaker at the webinar was Tesco Ireland CEO Natasha Adams, who stressed the retailer’s “close connection to Irish communities and companies” as the only retail partner for Love Irish Food. “We are the single largest purchase of Irish food and drink in the world, with the overall economic impact of Tesco’s expenditure in Ireland estimated at €3.05 billion,” she revealed. “We directly purchase some €1.6 billion of Irish food and drink and we work with over 500 small and medium Irish

suppliers. 90% of our Irish suppliers feel that they have a positive relationship with Tesco Ireland and we have been increasing the number of Irish suppliers that we work with, with over 60 new suppliers added in the last year alone.”

The Tesco CEO highlighted how the retailer is actively promoting Love Irish Food brands in Tesco stores around the country and noted how they continue to work with local suppliers. “This can be difficult given the scale of Tesco compared to, for example, artisan suppliers, but we are developing flexible processes to allow us to keep increasing the number of small and medium suppliers we can work with,” she maintained. “Our Galway stores have been able to bring 30 artisan suppliers onto the shelves of shops in and around Galway, which we see as a great success. We are now working with food or drink suppliers from all 26 counties and we are looking to increase those relationships as we move forward. At Tesco Ireland, we are fully committed to building our brand here and working with the best Irish food and drink producers through the rest of this year and into the future.”

Inflation a huge shock to consumers

David Berry, Commercial Director, Kantar Ireland, shared a number of insights on the Irish economy and the Irish consumer. “We have been going through a period of intense upward pressure on grocery prices,” he acknowledged. “This has come after an extended period of very low food inflation and as such, it has come as a big shock to Irish consumers. The reality is that the average cost of groceries is about €100 per month more than it used to be.”

Kantar break consumers down into three categories with regard to increasing grocery prices: comfortable, managing and struggling. “During the first three months of this year, there has been a small increase in the number of people classing themselves as comfortable and managing, which is great to see, but that still leaves a little over 20% of people classed as struggling and either just making ends meet or without sufficient income to cover expenses,” he warned.

The effects of the rising costof-living are evident at retail tills. “We have found that people are doing smaller, more frequent

shopping trips and the big shops of the pandemic era are reducing,” Berry revealed. “In general, own brand growth is ahead of that of branded goods but there are still ways for Irish food and drink products to find growth. As a brand, you should consider if there is any way to reframe your value proposition and value offering.”

Berry noted that at the moment, some struggling consumers are buying smaller packs that have higher per unit costs as they cannot afford the total outlay for larger packs with lower per unit costs, advising brand owners that if they can change the optics of their offering, that may help sales. “The ability to reframe your value proposition can also offer advantages, as it can help your product add quality to a night in versus a night out, so you could deliver significant quality increase for modest cost increases,” he said.

The webinar acknowledged the effects of rising costs on Irish brands and consumers. There is no doubt that we have been through very difficult times and many still continue to struggle. However, the early part of 2023 has brought some reasons for optimism that we are past the worst of things and that we can be more confident about the rest of the year.

Love Irish Food Retail News|April 2023||47
David Berry, Commercial Director, Kantar. Natasha Adams, CEO, Tesco Ireland.

Illicit trade a worry for retailers


IRISH tobacco retailers are concerned about the size of the illicit trade here, given the increasing numbers of contraband seizures in recent weeks.

February saw two huge seizures at Dublin Port. On February 15, Revenue seized approximately 6,000kgs of tobacco and 2,400 cigarettes, while five days later they discovered an additional

12.3kgs of tobacco. Together, these products were worth a combined estimated retail value of over €4.5 million, showing a potential loss to the Exchequer of over €3.5 million.

March 16 saw Revenue officers capturing over 79,000 cigarettes and 57 litres of alcohol worth €63,000 in retail value in Cork, while two days later they found 60,000 cigarettes following the search of a vehicle in Drogheda, which have an estimated retail value of €47,000, representing a potential loss to the Exchequer of approximately €37,000.

Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) welcomed these seizures but argue that such finds demonstrate the significant volume and value of illicit tobacco products that are likely to enter onto the Irish market.

“Significant seizures of tobacco products by Revenue officials in recent weeks indicate that the black- market economy is alive and well,” argued Benny Gilsenan, Dublin retailer and spokesperson for Retailers Against Smuggling. “Legitimate retailers across the country are facing unfair competition from criminal organisations exploiting the increasing demand for cheaper products in the context of the cost-of-living and energy crisis.”

RAS commends the ongoing work by Revenue officials in the fight against smuggling, particularly at our major points of entry through ports and airports. However, the issue of tobacco smuggling remains a huge threat for registered and legitimate tobacco retailers whose legal cigarette trade can account for 2030% of their business.

Rigorous monitoring and checks by Revenue officers are essential to combat criminal enterprises that are constantly adapting and seeking new ways of ensuring illicit tobacco products are widely available in Ireland.

RAS encourages anyone with information on the sale or supply of illegal cigarettes and tobacco to contact its confidential hotline. Free phone number 1800 295 295.

48|Retail News|April 2023| Tobacco Products
seizures of illicit cigarettes and tobacco highlight the scale of the illicit trade in Ireland, warn Retailers Against Smuggling.
Benny Gilsenan, spokesperson, Retailers Against Smuggling.


LOGICVAPES.IE *RRP - Recommended Retail Price €7.00 for Logic Compact Device. €

Tobacco Products

And it doesn’t stop there… Amber Leaf also continue to offer valued Irish trade members the chance to ‘Win Instant Prizes’ each year via interactive, on-pack promotions. Last year, the trade were given the chance to spin the virtual Amber Leaf wheel to win instant prizes and this year, there’s another surprise in store!

So, keep an eye out for the chance to ‘Win Instant Prizes’ across Amber Leaf Original 30g CPB & Amber Leaf Original 30g pouches, available this May - terms and conditions apply.

Silk Cut

Not all tobacco brands are cut from the same cloth. That’s why Silk Cut is Ireland’s number one cigarette brand (Source: NielsenIQ ROI Extended Scantrack, 20.8% RMC SOM, MAT 29/01/23).

Silk Cut continues to be defined by excellence; producing consistent, high-quality products to give valued existing Irish adult smokers the smoothest and most sophisticated experience possible, allowing them to enjoy their moments to the fullest.

It’s exactly this premium quality that has led the brand to its number one accolade, with over 20% share of the premium cigarette market in Ireland (Source: NielsenIQ ROI Extended Scantrack, 20.8% RMC SOM, MAT 29/01/23).

Amber Leaf

Amber Leaf, from JTI Ireland, have been helping existing adult smokers to craft their perfect moment by adding value and convenience through innovation in recent years. The addition of ‘ZipSeal’ technology to all Amber Leaf 30g products in 2021 ensures that lasting freshness is sealed into every pouch.

In 2022, Amber Leaf 30g pouches upgraded their existing format to include filters, meaning that each pouch now comes equipped with rolling papers, filters and 30g of tobacco, in one simple, complete ‘3in1’ kit.

In addition to these upgrades, the brand continues to provide the same high-quality, distinctive Amber Leaf taste in every pouch, ensuring they retain the number one RYO brand status in Ireland year-on-year (Source: NielsenIQ ROI Extended Scantrack, 70.9% RYO SOM, MAT 29/01/23).

Silk Cut’s extensive range of products continues to grow, with the addition of Silk Cut 33s offering existing adult smokers an even larger format with 33 sticks.

Silk Cut is available in Purple, Blue & Silver, in both King Size & 100s formats, with a variety of box formats including 20s and 27s. As well as this, Silk Cut is also available in Silk Cut Choice Green & Silk Cut Choice Super Line Green and Silk Cut Red King Size 20s.

Silk Cut’s extensive range of products continues to grow, with the addition of Silk Cut 33s last year, offering existing adult smokers an even larger format with 33 sticks, filled with the same quality Silk Cut cigarettes that the brand has become renowned for. Stay a cut above the rest, stock up on Ireland’s number one cigarette brand.

Benson &

This year marks a momentous milestone for Benson & Hedges, who are celebrating 150 years of distinctive, uncompromising quality.

Benson & Hedges’ illustrious journey in the Irish market represents the brand’s genuine heritage, with an international reputation for leading the way, achieving, and retaining the accolade of Ireland’s number one SKU since 1990 (Source: NielsenIQ ROI Extended Scantrack, 15.4% RMC SOM, MAT 29/01/23).

In 2022, Amber Leaf 30g pouches upgraded their existing format to include filters, so each pouch comes equipped with rolling papers, filters and 30g of tobacco, in one simple, complete ‘3in1’ kit.

To celebrate the occasion, the brand is offering valued trade members the chance to win amazing prizes throughout the year, as a thank you for their continued support that has helped to make Benson & Hedges the iconic brand that they are todayterms & conditions apply. Benson & Hedges commenced a year of celebrations last month with a ‘150 Year Anniversary Reactions

50|Retail News|April 2023|
Amber Leaf: the number one RYO brand in Ireland yearon-year. Hedges

Tobacco Products

Pall Mall

Pall Mall is one of BAT’s most globally successful cigarette brands. Its journey started in 1899 and since then, the brand has never stood still. Pall Mall has accomplished success by providing great quality products made with passion.

Benson & Hedges are celebrating 150 years of distinctive, uncompromising quality in 2023, with the chance for the trade to win amazing prizes throughout the year.

Game’ that gave trade the chance to ‘seal the date’ and win amazing prizes, which saw fantastic levels of engagement with valued trade members.

There’s plenty more to come from Benson & Hedges throughout 2023. So, keep your eyes peeled and sign up to Benson & Hedges’ Exclusive Anniversary Mailing List to find out how to win prizes in 2023 by scanning the QR code.


Think value, think Mayfair; a modern expression of affordable quality. When existing adult smokers want value and quality combined, they know they can rely on Ireland’s number one value cigarette brand to deliver (Source: NielsenIQ ROI Extended Scantrack, 15.9% RMC SOM, MAT 29/01/23).

The brand’s ever-growing portfolio offers variation and value for all types of existing adult smokers; available in King Size and Superkings, Big Box and Giga-Box formats, as well as Sky Blue and Sea Green – Mayfair truly do have all bases covered.

This year alone, Mayfair launched their new Giga-Box format, containing a remarkable 40 sticks of Mayfair Original King Size cigarettes. The rise of bigger box formats has become a popular choice amongst existing adult smokers in recent years (Source NielsenIQ ROI Extended Scantrack, 40.4% Value RMC SOS, MAT 29/01/23), and the latest addition to Mayfair’s portfolio aims to deliver even more convenience.

The innovative Giga-Box offering means that existing adult smokers now have a format that provides even better value without compromise (versus 2 x 20 Mayfair Original King Size 20 Packs), with each stick containing the same affordable quality tobacco that continues to make Mayfair Ireland’s number one value brand (Source: NielsenIQ ROI Extended Scantrack, 15.9% RMC SOM, MAT 29/01/23).

Stock up today on Mayfair, the value hero and Ireland’s number one cigarette brand in the value segment.

“In Ireland, Pall Mall provides value with high quality and we can see how that resonates with the consumers,” noted a spokesperson for BAT Ireland. “We want to make sure to deliver over and above competitors so that our consumer always gets the best. It’s our main motivation to keep the brand moving forward by regularly introducing relevant new products and solutions that are tailored to consumers’ needs.”

Over the years, Pall Mall in Ireland has always been the frontrunner of innovations, especially with menthol capsulated products. Even when menthol ban was introduced, BAT managed to bring new innovations to keep its most innovative, modern, progressive and differentiated brand in the market.

“Pall Mall provides consumers with the highest quality of blend and packaging elements, while offering a low RRP to keep the brand affordable,” the company spokesperson continued. “Moreover, we have the most differentiated portfolio within this brand, including all product formats: King-size, Super kings, bigger content packs, Full Flavour, Non-Full Flavour. Retailers should work with us to answer to today’s consumer’s needs: basically, high quality at an affordable price.”

Please contact your BAT Ireland rep for more information.

52|Retail News|April 2023|
This year saw Mayfair launch their new Giga-Box format, containing a remarkable 40 sticks of Mayfair Original King Size cigarettes. Pall Mall provides consumers with a high quality, diverse portfolio for an affordable price.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT YOUR PJ CARROLL REPRESENTATIVE OR CALL 1800 604 500 Visit to order these products. It's an offence to sell tobacco to person under 18 years old age. For tobacco trade use only. Not to be left within sight of consumers. Branded packs are for illustrative purposes only. All packs sold will be in plain packaging. DISCOVER THE BRANDS Place your order today at Scan the QR code to order online.

Drinks News

Keeper’s Hart comes home to Ireland

AN award-winning Irish American Whiskey, Keeper’s Heart, has launched in Ireland, the homeland of renowned Master Distiller Brian Nation. Created by whiskey icon Brian Nation, formerly Master Distiller for some of the most well known Irish whiskeys including Jameson, Redbreast, and Midleton, Keeper’s Heart is a new style of whiskey, bringing together the best of Irish and American whiskey-making traditions from the O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co. (OSDC), a familyowned distillery located in Minneapolis. With its innovative liquid and expert craftsmanship, Keeper’s Heart Irish + American became the most awarded new whiskey brand in 2022, including International Wine and Spirits Challenge Platinum, Ultimate Spirits Challenge 94, Critics Challenge International Platinum and Pr%f Award Double Gold honours. Pictured are (l-r): Brian Nation, Master Distiller, and Patrick O’Shaughnessy, co-founder, O’Shaughnessy Distillery Co.

Energise Sport and Ballygowan partner with FAI

ENERGISE Sport and Ballygowan Mineral Water, both owned by Britvic Ireland, are delighted to announce a four-year deal to become the Official Hydration Partner of the Football Association of Ireland. The deal sees Energise Sport and Ballygowan Water supporting both the Ireland Men’s and Women’s National Teams, with the Men’s National Team recently kicking off their UEFA European Championship 2024 Qualifiers and the Women’s National Team getting set to play in this summer’s FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. As part of this partnership deal, Energise will ensure the Ireland national team players are supplied with the optimal balance of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes to hydrate faster for training and match endurance. Ballygowan will be supporting the partnership with 190,000 bottles of Ballygowan water each year to ensure players have the optimal water intake to maintain a normal water balance during training and matches. Pictured at the announcement are (l-r): Kevin Donnelly, Managing Director of Britvic Ireland; Irish national men’s team manager Stephen Kenny and Jonathan Hill, CEO of the FAI.

Drinks Ireland welcomes research on non-alcoholic beer

DRINKS Ireland has welcomed new research from the University of Cambridge that suggests increasing the proportion of non-alcohol drinks on sale could reduce the amount of alcohol consumers purchase. The Cambridge researchers undertook their study in a simulated supermarket that presented shoppers with varying proportions of alcohol and non-alcohol drinks and asked them to select drinks to purchase for their next online shop. They found that shoppers who were exposed to more non-alcoholic drinks selected and purchased fewer alcoholic drinks. “We welcome the research from Cambridge University that supports the clear role non-alcohol drinks play in supporting consumers in finding balance in how they drink,” said Cormac Healy, Drinks Ireland Director (pictured). “This comes as the latest revenue data released this week shows that alcohol consumption was down by 5% last year on 2019 pre-pandemic levels and continues to decline on a longer-term, down by about 30% since 2001.”

Barefoot’s chocolate connection

BAREFOOT Wine, the number one USA Wine brand in Ireland, proved it is the perfect pairing for your favourite chocolate, with a recent Easter campaign encouraging wine lovers to think that little bit deeper about how their choice of wine brings out the flavours of their choice of chocolate. They recommended upgrading silky milk chocolate by pairing it with a glass of Barefoot Pink Moscato. For a classic wine and chocolate combination, pair sumptuous dark chocolate treats with Barefoot’s rich Merlot. Buttery in taste and texture, pair white chocolate with the equally as smooth mediumbodied Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay, while salted caramel is complemented well by Barefoot’s juicy Moscato and the zesty nature of orange infused chocolate pairs perfectly with fruity and crisp Barefoot Pinot Grigio.

Teeling Whiskey partners College Football Classic Series

TEELING Whiskey has become the official Irish whiskey partner of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic series, with the opening game of the new College Football season now hosted in the Aviva Stadium during August. The next game in the fivegame series is Notre Dame hosting Navy in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, August 26, the first time that Notre Dame will move a home game to Ireland and will be the opening game for the 2023 College Football season. “It is a great opportunity for Teeling Whiskey to be the official Irish Whiskey partner for such a great event,” noted Jack Teeling, Founder and Managing Director, Teeling Whiskey, pictured with Brendan Meehan, Commercial Director of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

54|Retail News|April 2023|

Classic Mineral Water sign new €4.4 million deal with Aldi

ALDI Ireland have agreed a new €4.4 million deal with Armagh-based Classic Mineral Water to supply all of Aldi’s 155 Irish stores with their wide-range of refreshing drinks over the next year. Classic Mineral Water have been working with Aldi for the past three and half years. Based in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, Classic Mineral Water employ 70 staff full-time staff members and produce a suite of water products for Aldi under the well-known Comeragh brand name. The new contract will enable Classic Mineral Water to invest in upgrading their facilities, including the installation of a new pasteurisation system, with the capability to produce isotonic products in both 500ml and 750ml bottle sizes, delivering a variety of flavours including orange, raspberry, cherry, tropical and tropical blue. This new investment will allow Classic Mineral Water to upgrade their current syrup room facilities and move to using tethered caps immediately, which will help reduce the amount of plastic and cardboard used in the production process. Pictured are (l-r): Laurence Kelly, Buying Director at Aldi Ireland, and Liam Duffy, CEO, Classic Mineral Water.

Walsh Whiskey founder inducted into Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame

BERNARD Walsh, the co-founder (with his wife Rosemary) of Walsh Whiskey, has been inducted to Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame in honour of his contribution to the whiskey industry. The creator of Writers’ Tears and The Irishman whiskeys is just the third Irish whiskey founder to be honoured after John Teeling and the late Oliver Hughes. The Hall of Fame is reserved for people who have served at least 25 years in the industry and have made a significant contribution to the world of whiskey. “It is a great honour to be inducted into this august group,” noted Bernard (pictured).

Bulmers Secret Orchard returns to Clonmel

THE Bulmers Secret Orchard will return bigger and better than ever on September 9 this year. For one weekend only, the stunning surrounds of the orchard at Bulmers Clonmel will transform into an exclusive, magical experience, complete with performances from Ireland’s brightest talent, tasty food and of course, delicious Bulmers. To celebrate the third year of Bulmers Secret Orchard and for the first time, Bulmers have organised a series of Secret Orchard gigs in venues across Ireland before the Clonmel event. The first Secret Orchard gig will take place in Whelan’s, Dublin, on April 26, headlined by hip hop star Kojaque, with a performance from R&B artist Shiv and a DJ set from Kean Kavanagh, co-founder of Irish record label Soft Boy Records. Visit secretorchard. for tickets and more.

Irish Distillers and Heineken join forces on sustainability

TWO of Ireland’s leading drinks companies are joining forces to promote regenerative agricultural practices in barley farming. Irish Distillers and Heineken Ireland are coming together for a three-year collaboration which will support malting barley farmers in adopting regenerative agricultural practices on their farms. This pilot project is part of a global collaboration initiated by Heineken and Pernod Ricard on the resilience of agricultural raw materials. Learnings from the Irish study, including information on the environmental impact of the measures adopted, will be shared and leveraged by both companies to inform sustainability strategies for other raw materials. Pictured are (l-r): Avril Collins, Corporate Affairs Director, Heineken Ireland; Clara Labaste, Earthworm; David Walsh-Kemmis, Ballykilcavan Farm; and Kathryn D’Arcy, Communications and Corporate Affairs Director, Irish Distillers.

New Hendrick’s Flora Adora

HENDRICK’S Gin have revealed a new limited release from their Cabinet of Curiosities. Carefully created using a wildflower bouquet that most entices our nectar-loving friends, Hendrick’s Flora Adora offers a bright floral explosion to that signature Hendrick’s style. The new gin was curiously perfected by Hendrick’s Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie, within the Hendrick’s Gin Palace in Southwest Scotland. “I find it really relaxing to watch the butterflies and bees busy at work in the garden,” Leslie noted. “It’s fascinating to me how they seem to settle on some plants more than others. Certain flowers are more enticing to the pollinators and it’s these blooms that I’ve used to create a botanical blend for Hendrick’s Flora Adora.”

Retail News|April 2023||55 Drinks News

Complete cleansing care with Nivea – no compromise

CREATED to offer easy make-up removal, skin cleansing and care, the Nivea cleansing range delivers the most complete cleansing experience. The innovative collection of products from Ireland’s number one face brand helps to thoroughly cleanse the skin, while gently caring and protecting its delicate moisture balance. The Nivea cleansing line comprises various formats to suit all cleansing preferences with dermatologically and ophthalmologically approved products.

Daily Essentials Sensitive 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water

This award-winning product has an innovative formula which cleanses and removes make-up while moisturising the skin, in one simple step. It respects the skin’s natural balance, requires no rinsing and is free of perfumes, colourants and parabens, making it ideal for sensitive skin.

Biodegradable Cleansing Wipes

Gently and effectively cleansing the skin while maintaining its natural balance, these wipes thoroughly remove face and eye

make-up while providing the skin with refreshing moisture. These soft and gentle wipes are made with 100% renewable plant fibres, are biodegradable, and are enriched with specially selected organic Argan Oil and organic Aloe Vera, ensuring they are suitable for even sensitive skin.

Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover

This wonder product benefits from a gentle bi-phase formula which effectively dissolves eye make-up while caring for eyelashes and the delicate skin around eyes. The ‘oil phase’ is designed to remove waterproof mascara and eye make-up without irritation. The ‘aqueous phase’ is formulated to protect and care for lashes without leaving any oily residue. The highly effective yet caring formula is also enriched with cornflower extract, which is known

for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

Refreshing Facial Wash Gel

This wash gel deeply cleanses and hydrates for a perfectly clean, refreshed skin look and feel. The formula combines effective cleansing with the mild and moisturising benefits of Vitamin E to help strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, while effectively moisturising to support your skin in maintaining its natural moisture balance every time you cleanse.

56|Retail News|April 2023| Nivea
IRELAND’S MEN’S SKINCARE BRAND* *©2021 NielsenIQ data, value & unit sales, Men Care, 52 w/e 01.01.2023 ROI Total Scantrack
The Nivea cleansing line comprises various formats to suit all cleansing preferences.

Employment Law

Neurodiversity in the workplace

THE week of March 13-19 marked Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a worldwide initiative aimed at challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. While the concept of neurodiversity is certainly not new, it is an area that is becoming more of a hot topic in employment law in recent years and a recent decision in the UK highlights the importance of employers’ awareness and understanding when managing employees with neuroatypical conditions.

As part of their growing ESG (environmental, social and governance) agenda, many employers are already embracing their obligations under the heading of DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion). Indeed, many are seeing the benefits of adopting more inclusive hiring and recruitment practices and the depth of talent, diverse thinking and creativity that this can bring. Some retail employers will already have seen the benefit of putting support structures and services in place for their neurodivergent customers. For example, retail employers like Penney’s, Lidl and SuperValu introduced autism-

friendly shopping hubs and experiences. Many recent studies and surveys have shown that it’s not only customers that prefer socially inclusive companies; this is an important factor for today’s jobseekers too. Given the overall prevalence of neurodivergent people, applying socially inclusive initiatives and approaches to their talent acquisition and retention policies makes sense for retailers.

What is neurodiversity?

Most people are ‘neurotypical’, which means that the brain functions and processes information in the way that would be typically expected. However, over 15% of people are ‘neurodivergent’, meaning their brains will learn, focus and process information in a different way. Neurodiversity can include a range of neurological differences, including autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). Such conditions can often present concurrently as well as alongside mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. It is, of course, also the case that not all

people who are neurodivergent have a clinical diagnosis, or they may not realise that they have such a condition.

How can it impact management of employees in the workplace?

Retail employers should ensure that they are prepared for any additional management requirements for employees who are neurodivergent. It’s likely that neurodiversity will encapsulate a condition which, in many cases, will be protected as a disability under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2008 (EEAs). The definition of disability includes a condition which results in a person learning differently from a person without the condition, or which affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement. This can include a disability which exists at present, or which previously existed but no longer exists, or which may exist in the future or which is imputed to a person. It is also important to be aware that the absence of a medical diagnosis does not mean that someone is not disabled for the purpose of the EEAs.

Síobhra Rush and Sinead Likely of Lewis Silkin explore the legal and practical issues around employing people with neurodivergent conditions and how employers in the retail sector can develop a more neurodiverse workforce.
Retail News|April 2023||57

Employment Law

What does the law require retail employers to do?

The law does not require an employer to continue to employ an employee in a role that they are not fully competent and capable of performing. However, if their disability limits them, the employer is firstly required to consider what reasonable accommodations might be required to assist the employee in performing their duties, including to the standards required. There is simply no ‘one size fits all’ approach to this and managers need to consider how neurodivergent conditions manifest themselves to devise practical strategies for supporting individual workers’ requirements. Effective training is, therefore, highly important.

There is an exception to the requirement to provide reasonable accommodation where this would give rise to a disproportionate burden for the employer. The consideration of what constitutes a disproportionate burden includes looking at the cost of implementation, so for larger retail employers, who might be seen as having an ability to absorb those costs, it could be difficult to show that they could not reasonably afford the measures proposed or recommended.

What are the practical implications?

Typically, retail employers might come across this issue when an employee is not performing to the standard required, or

has behaved inappropriately, and discloses that they are neurodivergent and that the behaviour complained of (or the poor performance) is by reason of their condition or medication that they may be taking connected with it. In such circumstances, an employer must consider whether any measures of reasonable accommodation are required, and this duty requires an employer to:

1. Ensure it is fully informed by up-todate expert medical advice;

2. Identify and evaluate all reasonable accommodations which could be put in place to assist the employee in carrying out their role to the standard required;

3. Assess whether those accommodations would impose a disproportionate burden on the employer, having regard to the costs involved, the resources available to the employer and the possibility of obtaining public funding or other assistance;

4. Engage in meaningful consultation with the employee throughout the process before a decision is made.

If the employer has followed the above steps and an employee is still not performing to the standards expected of their role or continues to behave in an inappropriate manner, they may wish

to consider disciplinary action, or a performance improvement process, which ultimately may result in termination of the employee’s employment. An employer would likely be expected to give the employee a reasonable amount of time to improve once the supports were put in place, and to actively engage with the employee during that time to establish whether any additional supports could be put in place prior to making any decision to dismiss the employee.

It can be particularly difficult if a neuroatypical employee conducts themselves inappropriately and then makes the case that this was linked to neurodiversity. In our experience, cases of this nature are becoming more common. It may still be appropriate to dismiss, but it requires more consideration and care than a situation which does not involve a disability.

As always, dismissal should be a last resort and other options such as giving a final warning, moving the employee to a different team and/or alternate working patterns or arrangements should be considered first. In summary, such situations should be approached carefully.

A reported UK case

A UK employer recently successfully defended a claim of discrimination on the grounds of disability, but failed to defend a concurrent claim of disability-related

Over 15% of people are ‘neurodivergent’, meaning their brains will learn, focus and process information in a different way.
58|Retail News|April 2023|

Employment Law

harassment, which could cover making offensive remarks about neurodivergence (Source: Morgan v Buckinghamshire County Council – full judgment available at cases/UKEAT/2022/160.html)

The employee, who had autism, dyslexia and other neurological conditions, was a supervising social worker in the fostering team. She was dismissed for giving gifts to a child without permission from her manager and because of an inappropriate case note she had written. She brought a claim for unfair dismissal and discrimination arising from disability, mainly on the basis that her autism had impacted her judgment and understanding in relation to the gift-giving policy and appropriateness of the case note. The employer accepted that the claimant was disabled on the basis of her neurodivergences, and it was determined that the conduct for which she was dismissed resulted from her disabilities. However, she had refused to participate in an occupational health assessment, and this negatively impacted her claim, because in the absence of any medical advice, it was determined that dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses for the employer. It must be noted that this was one of two factors which are particular to the defence of UK discrimination claims, not Irish claims under the EEA.

Separately, however, the employee succeeded in a claim for disability-related harassment, because in a letter, the employer stated that she withheld her autism by ‘masking’ throughout much of her employment, potentially putting vulnerable children that she was working with at risk. The employee took this as a suggestion that she had been deceitful, when she had in fact simply learned behaviours which led to her masking her autism, and that she reasonably felt her dignity to have been violated.

The UK Tribunal held that although it was a one-off comment, this did not mean it could not amount to harassment, especially as this was a considered

observation in a formal letter rather than an unscripted, heat-of-the-moment remark.

How can we take a positive approach for neurodiverse employees?

Naturally, every situation will depend on the facts. However, when an employee explains that they have any disability, including neurodivergent conditions, it is generally advisable to talk to them and discuss whether it’s necessary to refer them for an occupational health appointment.

An occupational health report can support an understanding of what reasonable accommodation may be needed. Where reasonable accommodation is made, it is sensible to have regular check-ins with the employee to ensure that this accommodation remains suitable and find out whether they require any further support. Further occupational health assessments might be needed, especially when an employee’s disability is subject to fluctuation, for example, in times of stress or if their medication changes.

Coaching and mentoring can be useful aids in supporting a neurodivergent employee. This can help an employee understand their role and fit into the team. Additionally, if there is misconduct from an employee, suitable coaching may assist in understanding the situation and reducing the risk of the misconduct happening again. Much litigation involving neurodivergent employees is arguably avoidable if an organisation’s managers and had a good mutual understanding and dialogue conditions and how they may affect workplace participation and practices. Educating and training retail managers on neurodiversity and how it can present in individuals within the work environment is,

A recent UK study which was released to coincide with Neurodiversity Celebration

Week found that only 29% of senior leaders surveyed had specific training in relation to neurodiversity, despite nearly 80% recognising that disability inclusion policies are important. A comprehensive approach to training will ensure that managers can provide open and safe environments for their neurodivergent employees and will boost engagement and productivity amongst those individuals, making them more successful in their work. As seen from the recent UK case highlighted above, all staff should also be reminded that even one-off comments can constitute harassment and to be considerate towards colleagues.

About the authors FOR further information on this topic please contact Síobhra Rush (Siobhra., or Sinead Likely (, from Lewis Silkin. This article is for general guidance and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be sought in any given set of circumstances.

Retail News|April 2023||59

NESTLÉ Cereals have announced the launch of KitKat Cereal, a delicious new breakfast option which brings the taste of the popular chocolate bar straight to consumers’ cereal bowls. Created in partnership with the chocolate development team, the cereal maintains the essence of the much-loved original chocolate bar. The crispy cereal squares provide the delicious taste of chocolate and wafer, which is sure to delight loyal KitKat fans. The newest addition to the Nestlé Cereals’ portfolio is made with a milk chocolate flavoured coating and is a source of five vitamins, calcium and iron.

“We’re delighted to announce the partnership between Nestlé Cereals and KitKat,” noted Jennifer Walsh, Country Category Manager, Nestlé Cereals. “This exciting new cereal delivers a delicious taste of KitKat and has been developed to cater to consumers who are looking for an occasional, indulgent breakfast option, that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.” KitKat Cereal will be available at major retailers from mid-May.

BOUNDLESS, the champions of ‘gut happy snacking’, have confirmed a new national listing for their successful snacking portfolio with SuperValu. The launch included two brand new chip flavours, Smoky Bacon and Sour Cream & Onion, which join existing Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar and Chipotle & Lime variants. Boundless pride themselves on creating great tasting products that are kind to the gut. Always activated, the snacks feature 100% natural ingredients and are packed full of gut-friendly fibre and nutrients. The full range is also gluten-free and plant-based.

AS the first signs of spring take hold, iSqueeze are launching hydration stations, squeezing fresh fruit juice, bottled in front of customers’ eyes, into businesses nationwide! A new innovation for juicing on-the-go, iSqueeze is a fun interactive experience, with juice squeezed from high-tech machines in seconds, rolling out into supermarkets, petrol stations, cafes, bars, gyms etc. To break it down in oranges, the iSqueeze 330ml bottle (priced at €2.50) has five oranges, 500ml bottle (priced at €3.50) contains eight oranges and 1 litre bottle (priced at €5) has a whopping 15 oranges. The iSqueeze machines have already been introduced in some SuperValu, Centra and Maxol stores, with more machines set to be rolled out in the coming months. For more information, visit

IN the latest ‘egg-citing news’, seven-year-old Ella McGovern from Tullamore, Co. Offaly, has been named as one of Aldi’s Chief Easter Egg Tasting Officers. The competition, which was launched in March, saw Aldi invite chocolate connoisseurs from around the country to submit a short audition video explaining why they should be considered for the “world’s sweetest job”. Ella, along with two other lucky winners, including Sarah McShane from Co. Cork and Natalia Kostecka from Co. Limerick, received a selection of Aldi’s Easter Egg range to sample, taste and review. In eggs-change for these Easter goodies, the Chief Easter Egg Tasting Officers will offer allimportant feedback on taste, texture and appearance that will help shape and inform next year’s range.

BORD Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, in association with Chef Network, have announced that the 2023 Taste the Atlantic Young Chef Ambassador Programme is open for applications. The seafood mentoring programme, now in its third year, is aimed at ambitious young chefs. It will take them on an immersive journey, where they get first-hand experience of Irish seafood production along the Taste the Atlantic trail, part of the Wild Atlantic Way. Each of the selected chefs will receive training and mentorship in social media, business, culinary and fish handling skills from experienced industry mentors. They will also be paired with a Taste the Atlantic producer to learn about the provenance of Irish seafood, broadening their knowledge and inspiring the creation of new Irish seafood recipes. Pictured are the BIM Taste the Atlantic Young Chef Ambassadors from 2022. Full details are available on

GILFRESH Produce, the Armagh-based vegetable growers and producers, have extended their portfolio of prepared vegetable products through the launch of their brand new Fresh Value range, which is available now in Aldi Ireland stores. The first line in the new Fresh Value range to launch in Aldi Ireland is the Rainbow Vegetable Stir Fry, a colourful mix of carrot, cabbage, onion, leek, peppers and sweetcorn, which is all prepared and ready to be cooked to make a tasty, healthy stir-fry dinner, in less than six minutes. “The addition of the Fresh Value range to our portfolio of products comes at the ideal time for consumers who are feeling their budgets being squeezed due to the rising cost of living,” noted Matthew Johnston, Account Executive with Gilfresh Produce (pictured). “Our new Fresh Value Rainbow Vegetable Stir-Fry offers consumers an affordable option to ensure they are still enjoying healthy, quality, fresh local produce.”

AWARD-winning jam, marmalade and preserves brand Wexford Home Preserves is now on the shelves of leading Irish lifestyle retailer Meadows and Byrne in their Dun Laoghaire, Malahide, Naas, Tipperary, Blarney, Bunratty and Wexford stores. Products selected for these stores include Irish Whiskey Marmalade, Three Fruit Marmalade, No Peel Marmalade, Blackberry and Apple Jam, Raspberry Jam and Irish Strawberry Jam, Irish Apple Chutney, Irish Tomato Relish, Irish Red Onion Relish and the ever-popular Wexford Home Preserves Favourites Gift Pack. Each product is made by hand in small batches in Wexford Home Preserves’ production kitchen in New Ross, Co. Wexford, using nothing but natural ingredients which are sourced as locally as possible. Co-owners of Wexford Home Preserves, Laura and Tom Sinnott are pictured in Meadows and Byrne.

THE Powerscourt Distillery in the historic Powerscourt Estate are thrilled to announce their double triumph at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards in London on March 30. The esteemed distillery won two highly coveted awards in the Irish Category, showcasing their excellence in whiskey craftsmanship and further solidifying their position as a world-class whiskey producer. The Powerscourt Distillery's Distillery Select won the Best Irish Single Grain category, while the Fercullen ‘The Estate Series, The Italian Gardens’, won the Best Irish Blended Limited Release category. “We are honoured to have our whiskeys recognised at this level,” said Roger Duggan, GM of The Powerscourt Distillery. “These awards represent our entire team's hard work, passion, and commitment, and we could not be prouder of this remarkable achievement.”

Shelf Life 60|Retail News|April 2023|

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