The 2021 Easter Egg hunt started a little early this week as desperate last-minute consumers scoured shops for any remaining sign of the sought-after confectionery.
Supermarket shelves appeared barren of the colourful cardboard boxes ahead of the weekend.
“Good luck finding one now,” a well-placed retail source told The Irish Times on Friday, two days out from the grand hunt. “And who leaves it so late anyway?”
At one busy Dublin SuperValu branch on Friday afternoon the centre aisles were conspicuously empty, mountains of “three for €5” egg promotions replaced by kitchen roll and laundry detergent.
A spokeswoman for Lidl Ireland reported a 99 per cent sales increase across its entire egg range compared to this time last year.
Tesco Ireland said consumer behaviour was consistent with ongoing pandemic restrictions, and that chocolate sales were up since January.
“In line with Easter 2020, we’ve seen more adults buying Easter eggs for consumption in the run up to Easter, more so than holding on for Easter itself. As a result we’ve experienced a faster sell-through of Easter Eggs on previous years,” a spokeswoman said.
Signs of a drought were also playing out on social media, where a virtual hunt was well underway on Friday afternoon.
One Twitter post observed that all of the eggs in their local Tesco “have suddenly turned into potted plants”.
The pandemic and its effects on consumer behaviour are difficult to separate from anticipated Easter Egg demand.
According to a survey by Repak, the recycling company, 25 per cent of Irish people will buy seven or more eggs this year and more than a quarter intend to give them away as presents.