Margaret McCarthy, Amsterdam Office Manager, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board
Against the backdrop of weaker Dutch consumer confidence, a report from GFK shows a moderate growth of 1.7% in the overall Dutch food market last year to €56.6bn. Price increases in mainstream food retail were the main driver behind this with the segment growing by 2.6% to €32.2bn. While most grocery categories showed a growth in value last year, only three saw any volume growth - cheese, soft drinks & chocolate. Limited growth of around 2% is expected for 2012, again this will be driven by value more than volume.
Promotional activity accelerated in the second half of 2011. The percentage increase in promotional turnover was 5.9%, and with the exception of Jumbo & Aldi, all retailers increased their promotional activity. C1000 had the largest promotional pressure at 26% with Albert Heijn at 21%.
The categories that saw heaviest promotional activity were milk & buttermilk, fish, vegetables, bread and coffee, while meat and salads saw the strongest easing on promotional pressure. The drop in promotional activity on the meat category is largely attributable to animal welfare lobbyists. This influence over the category will hold for the foreseeable future.
While the top A brands have all significantly increased their promotional activity, it has only contributed to increased penetration in a minority of cases.
PL share continues to grow with Jumbo showing strongest strides moving from a PL value share to of 20% to 27% last year. At 44%, Albert Heijn has little room for further growth. The price gap between national brands and private label was unchanged.
Lidl proved to be the only retailer along with Albert Heijn to increase customer loyalty in 2011. With over 350 stores it has surpassed Aldi in customer visits, perceived service and price. Retail commentators believe that the distance between Lidl and Aldi is such that Lidl has exited the discounter category and now sits amongst the softer discounters.
The butcher, the baker.....
The long term trend for speciality stores in the Netherlands is continued contraction with some of the largest drops seen in the independent grocer and in butcher stores. In the past 5 years butchers have seen their penetration falling from 41% to 31% of households.