‘Consumers are shopping around more than ever before’

‘Increase in sales of retailers’ own-brand products, such as milk’

‘Frozen Ready Meals category dropped 11 places to 89th’

Coca-Cola remains the biggest-selling brand in Irish grocery, retaining its position at the top of the annual Checkout Top 100 Brands report, produced by Checkout magazine in association with Nielsen.

It’s the ninth year in a row that Coca-Cola has held top spot in the rankings. The Checkout Top 100 Brands is the only guide to the biggest selling grocery brands in the Irish marketplace.

Milk brand Avonmore places 2nd, Brennan’s bread comes 3rd and Lucozade is 4th. Cadbury Dairy Milk, which places 5th, is the first new entry to the top five since 2009, knocking crisp brand Tayto down one place to 6th. 7Up (7th), Jacobs (8th), Walkers (9th) and Danone (10th) complete the Top 10.

In addition, Budweiser retains its position as Ireland’s No 1 off-trade alcohol brand, Blossom Hill is Ireland’s leading wine brand, Smirnoff is Ireland’s top spirit and Silk Cut holds on to its position as Ireland’s leading tobacco brand.

According to Stephen Wynne-Jones, editor of Checkout, the Top 100 Brands illustrates what brands have been able to best navigate an increasingly challenging grocery landscape, where value for money and ‘shopping around’ are key.

“Consumers are shopping around more than ever before, an indication of how competitive the market is for the big retail players,” he explained. “For many of Ireland’s leading brands, the focus is not only on growing market share, but also on how to retain their brand equity in an increasingly crowded and value-hungry marketplace.

“Ireland’s most successful brands, as outlined in the Checkout Top 100, have managed to strike that balance; offering value, innovation and new product development to consumers, while also reinforcing their unique brand qualities.”

According to Maureen Mooney, commercial of director at Nielsen, while big brands traditionally rely on advertising to communicate their brand identity, those at the top increasingly need to be savvier with how they engage with consumers.

“Ad spend is a major part of the success of many brands, but if you look at the overall market, ad spend in traditional media has declined a little bit,” she explained. “The brands that have been most successful are the ones that have continued to maintain spend, but have also combined that with promotions, new product development and in-store engagement.

“There’s no set formula: some brands are doing a bit of everything in order to come out as a winner; others rely on word of mouth and product quality to gain a foothold.”

The grocery category which is represented most in the Checkout Top 100 Brands is confectionery, with a total of 12 confectionery brands featured in the list; Cadbury Dairy Milk (5th), Galaxy (36th), Nestlé KitKat (49th), Haribo (53rd), Maltesers (55th), Kinder (56th), Nestlé Rowntree (67th), Cadbury Roses (75th), Nestlé Aero (82nd), Cadbury Snack (87th), Cadbury Twirl (95th) and Mars (100th).

About The Top 100 brands

The annual Checkout Top 100, produced in association with Nielsen, is the most definitive list of the biggest selling brands in the Irish grocery industry (by value sales), using MarketTrack and Scantrack data to get a full read of sales in multiples, convenience, discounters and independents.

In addition to the Top 100 brands, Checkout also reveals details of the Top 100 categories in the Irish grocery market at present, the Top 50 Alcohol brands, the Top 20 Wine, Spirit and LAD brands and the Top 10 Tobacco brands.

Movers & Shakers

Big movers in this year’s Checkout Top 100 Brands include Innocent, with its juice range rising 23 places since last year to sit in 30th position, one spot behind its closest rival, Tropicana.

Yoghurt brand Muller rises six places to 20th, with Glenisk, another popular yoghurt brand, rising 13 places to 39th. Interestingly, while Muller and Glenisk both posted gains, Danone, the leading brand in the category, dropped two places, to 10th.

Other eye-openers include Pringles, up 11 places to 34th following the brand’s high-profile takeover by Kellogg’s last year. The brand is actually the strongest performing in the Kellogg’s portfolio, ahead of Special K (78th) and Corn Flakes (79th).

Wrigley’s Extra is up four places to 15th, while Dairygold also rises four places to 19th, on the back of its successful ‘Butter It, Scoop It, Dollop It’ campaign last year. MiWadi rises 13 places to 62nd; Andrex is up 17 places to 72nd; Galtee sliced meat is up an impressive 42 places to 81st; and Cully & Sully is a notable debutante in the list this year, rising 28 places to sit at 91st.

Going the other way are Club (soft drinks), which drops three places and out of the top 20, to sit in 21st; Pedigree, down four places to 24th and Red Bull, down four places to 26th.

Further down the list, Johnston Mooney & O’Brien drops eight places to 37th; bottled water brand Volvic is down nine places to 47th, with Deep River Rock dropping eight places to 51st; Nestlé KitKat drops nine places to 49th; Denny Sausages are down nine places to 63rd; Cadbury Roses are down 11 places to 75th; Kellogg’s Special K is down 13 places to 78th; Birds Eye (Frozen Poultry) is down 15 places to 84th; and Benecol is down 12 places to 94th.

The growth in sales of retailer own-brand products has also impacted sales, particularly in certain categories, such as milk. Nielsen estimates that 47.3 per cent of sales in the milk category are own-brand, compared to an industry average of 21.9 per cent. While Avonmore retains 2nd position in the Top 100, there have been drops for Premier milk (down nine to 57th) and Connacht Gold milk (down 14 to 97th). Dawn milk, last year’s 88th biggest selling brand, falls out of the Top 100 altogether.

“When weighing up leading brands’ performance, it’s important to note, as well, that it’s not all about price,” said Mooney. “Premium products are selling very well in certain categories. For example, the yoghurt category is actually declining, but luxury yoghurt is growing by 9 per cent. For brands competing in that marketplace, you have to be able to hit all those consumer touchpoints.

“Another interesting one is single serve premium cat food, a category that is growing by 20 per cent year on year, while overall cat food is declining. Consumers might be buying private label for themselves, but still buying luxury single serve cat food for their pets.”

Category Captains

In terms of the biggest-selling grocery categories, confectionery tops the list, with milk placing second, bakery third, carbonated soft drinks in fourth and biscuits in fifth.

Crisps/Snacks/Tubes (6th), Prepacked Sliced Meat (7th, up two from last year), Cheese (8th), Yoghurt/Fromage Frais/Yoghurt Drinks (9th, down two places from last year) and Fruit Juice (10th) complete the Top 10.

Significant movers in the Top 100 Categories include the Frozen Ready Meals (Meat) category, which drops 11 places to become the 89th biggest selling grocery category. The segment was badly hit by the horsemeat scandal that broke at the start of the year.

Chilled Prepared Poultry (down nine places to 43rd), Dishwasher Products (down six places to 59th) and Canned Fruit (down five places to 91st) are other grocery categories that have seen declines.

On the other hand, the extended cold winter proved a boost for the Ignition Products category, which rose six places to 26th, while the uptake in home baking has led to increases in the Solid Baking Products (up seven places to 92nd) and Powdered Baking Products (a new entry at 99th) categories.

“One trend that we’ve noticed recently is a rise in what we call ‘pre-planned impulse’, where instead of a consumer buying an impulse product, they’re buying the multipack because they perceive it to be a lot better value,” said Mooney. “Impulse chocolate sales are actually in decline, but take home multipacks of chocolate are up 27 per cent year-on-year. Consumers can see the added value benefits.”

Checkout Top 100 Brands 2013, produced in association with Nielsen listed below:

1. Coca-Cola

2. Avonmore

3. Brennans

4. Lucozade

5. Cadbury Dairy Milk

6. Tayto

7. 7Up

8. Jacobs

9. Walkers

10. Danone

11. Pampers

12. Yoplait

13. Denny Sliced Meat

14. Irish Pride

15. Extra

16. Lyons

17. Goodfellas

18. McVities

19. Dairygold

20. Muller

21. Club

22. KP

23. Nescafe

24. Pedigree

25. Pat The Baker

26. Red Bull

27. Barrys

28. Milupa (Aptamil)

29. Tropicana

30. Innocent

31. Donegal Catch

32. Hunky Dorys

33. Dolmio

34. Pringles

35. Charleville

36. Galaxy

37. Johnston Mooney & O’Brien

38. Knorr Soups

39. Glenisk

40. Ballygowan

41. John West

42. Weetabix

43. Flora

44. Kerrygold

45. Keelings

46. Whiskas

47. Volvic

48. Pepsi

49. Nestlé Kit Kat

50. Hellmanns

51. Deep River Rock

52. Persil

53. Haribo

54. Denny Bacon

55. Maltesers

56. Kinder

57. Premier

58. Magnum

59. Flahavans

60. Cow & Gate

61. Batchelors

62. MiWadi

63. Denny Sausages

64. McCain

65. Finish

66. Colgate

67. Nestlé Rowntree

68. Fanta

69. Avonmore Cream

70. Galtee Bacon

71. Always

72. Andrex

73. Kilmeaden

74. Knorr Sauces

75. Cadbury Roses

76. Ariel

77. King

78. Kellogg’s Special K

79. Kellogg’s Cornflakes

80. McCambridge

81. Galtee Sliced Meat

82. Nestlé Aero

83. Florette

84. Birds Eye Frozen Poultry

85. Uncle Bens

86. Birds Eye Frozen Fish

87. Cadbury Snack

88. Dr Oetker

89. Comfort

90. Panadol

91. Cully & Sully

92. Bold

93. HB Cornetto

94. Benecol

95. Cadbury Twirl

96. Heinz

97. Connacht Gold

98. Clonakilty

99. Fairy

100. Mars

Image Shuttertock