Grocery prices fall 14%, poll shows
Grocery prices fell 14% in the last 18 months as the big supermarkets tried to woo bargain-hunting customers.
The largest ever branded price survey showed virtually no difference in price between Tesco, Dunnes Stores and Superquinn with just 1.14 euro between the dearest and cheapest item in a basket of 103 goods.
When SuperValu is thrown into the mix the gap between the most expensive and cheapest widened to 5.75 euro.
The study, carried out by the National Consumer Agency (NCA), said the supermarket giants were still price-matching thereby wiping out any real competition.
Ann Fitzgerald, NCA chief executive, said: "The results show that while grocery prices have dropped across the board, over the past 18 months, there is evidence that the most powerful retailers in the State, between them controlling 70% of the market, are still price matching in core branded items to a significant degree, albeit at much lower levels than in 2007 and 2008.
"This suggests that competitive pricing is still not a feature of the Irish grocery market and to address this there is a real need for a new entrant to the market to offer consumers a real alternative."
The survey compared the price of a basket of 103 branded goods in Tesco, Dunnes Stores and Superquinn, and a basket of 87 items when SuperValu is included.
Prices dropped around 14% between January 2009 and last month.
Dunnes came out cheapest at 279.62 euro, with Superquinn the most expensive at 280.76 euro.
Tesco's basket cost 280.69 euro.