Households in Ireland spent an extra €122 on groceries last month

March was the biggest month of grocery sales ever recorded in Ireland with the average household spending an additional €122 on groceries during the four weeks to March 22.

The national lockdown that is keeping people in their homes combined with the closure of restaurants and cafes and initial fears of shortages of certain food items has led to a surge in supermarket spending.

Analysis by data company Kantar show grocery spending was up 27% in the four weeks period up until March 22.

Sales of hand soap rose by 300% and household cleaners were up by 170%. Facial tissues and loo roll were also in demand, with sales up by 140% and 86% respectively.

“Items with a longer shelf life saw the biggest uplift, as sales of frozen and ambient foods, meaning those that can be stored at room temperature, increased by 32%," David Berry, managing director of Kantar said.

"By comparison, demand for fresh food has been more modest – growing by 16% over the last four weeks. While we’d expect sales to remain strong in the coming weeks and months, there will likely be a rebalancing of sales of fresh and non-perishable items as shoppers with full freezers and cupboards replenish fresh supplies.”

All of the country’s main grocery retailers were simultaneously in growth over the 12-week period as sales were boosted by unprecedented levels of demand.