Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thought the following information might be useful to our customers. It is the Consumer opinions Research Paper conducted in 2006. Source for this information is
It is a website designed to promote Agricultural Awareness in Ireland.

Two out of every five (40.2%) consumers rated quality as the most important factor when purchasing food. Price was the second most important factor (33%). Only 3% rated convenience as the most important factor for them when purchasing food.
In the eyes of consumers, the retailers (supermarkets/shops) benefit most financially from the retail price of food and the producers (farmers) benefit the least.

Four out of every five (81%) of the consumers surveyed try to buy Irish food when shopping. Women were more likely to do so than men. The older consumers (over 65 years) were also most likely to but Irish and the younger consumers (under 25 years) least likely to do so.

Some 87.3% of consumers stated that the country of origin was important, however, it was only rated as the sixth most important factor when purchasing food.

The vast majority (98.6%) of consumers favour the introduction of a 'green label' to identify food as Irish.

In the region of nine out of ten consumers consider Irish food to be of a higher quality than food produced in Eastern Europe, Asia or South America. Three quarters consider Irish food to be of a higher quality than that produced in the rest of the EU and half consider Irish food to be better than Australian and New Zealand produce. Therefore, the greatest competitor on quality in the eyes of the Irish consumer is produce from Australia and New Zealand.

Some 62.4% of consumers considered that there was not enough information provided on the labels of meat products. For those consumers who stated that there was not enough information provided, the majority wanted more details on the country of origin.·

While consumers are concerned about the price of food, a high quality product is the most important factor when they go shopping. This was evident in the fact that when given the direct choice between quality and price, consumers choose quality.

I particularly liked the thoughts of the Irish consumer regarding their perception of the quality of Irish food. The Irish consider their greatest competitor to be the two countries directly on the other side of the world. This puts them at a major logistical disadvantage. Other interesting points were the desire for a Green Irish label to denote source of the products. Personally the Irish Gourmet has found it difficult to get our producers to put their Great Taste Award Winning Stickers on their products such is their lack of time, so a Green label will probably remain on the ideas table.

The site is worth a look as it contains useful information about the quality of Irish food and if you want to comment on any of the findings then feel free to drop me a note.


The Irish Gourmet

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Irish Hampers: Self Perception and Reality at Christmas Time

What sort of hamper or gift basket are you sending this Christmas?

A quick glance around the internet can be very revealing in terms of the marketing straplines of the Irish Hamper companies at Christmas time.
There are claims of being the most luxurious, there is a claim to be Ireland's Largest Hamper Company. Others suggest they are the cheapest and offer free delivery. However, generally the market revolves around high quality gourmet food assembled together offered at a number of price points.

Years ago there was a company called Gourmet Ireland, which capitalised on the Paul Rankin name. Their food was branded Gourmet Ireland and they used local Irish producers. Unfortunately they overestimated the size of the market and exited. I hasten to add that unlike the ridiculous situation with Farepak Hampers in England that Gourmet Ireland did not let any of their customers down.

Retail stores have a propensity towards offering a lot of alcohol without much food since it is easier to manage. Some of the major players such as Fortnum and Masons or Harrods obviously can capitalise on their brand identity. With them the message you are sending is quality and history.

However with a BasketsGalore Hamper the claim is that your hamper or Basket will be "The Best." Quite an audacious claim, but backed up by a welter of testimonials. Irish Gourmet is a subsidiary of the Basketsgalore Group and the emphasis on Irish food is totally unsurpassed anywhere on the island.

This Christmas Irish Gourmet hampers are almost exclusively Irish in origin. The quality of the producers is exceptional. So this Christmas we want all our customers to ask one simple question of the people that they send a Christmas Hamper or Gift Basket to this Christmas.
Was it the best Christmas Hamper they have ever received?
Let me know!

The Irish Gourmet

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Irish Hampers... When an Irish Hamper is not really an Irish Hamper

Recently the Irish Gourmet has received a plethora of Christmas brochures from around the UK and Ireland. We get them from the likes of Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Fortnum & Masons and a few other top regional companies. There are a few companies in Ireland, and on the high street I always cast my eye over the range of hampers in Belfast and Dublin's leading delicatessens.

What I'm seeing is very little in the way of Irish products in their hampers and baskets. Now I understand that the IrishGourmet is unique in that it offers Luxury Irish food within the United Kingdom and relies very little on the local population. However, if its a genuine taste of Ireland that you wish to send, then the irony is that the only place you can expect to order this is in the UK province of Northern Ireland where it will then be re-exported back to the Republic of Ireland.

High Street Delis in Ireland and the North contain "luxury" food products from around Europe on the basis that they can achieve higher margins. So for those looking to support the small local Irish food producers, the Irish Gourmet is the only commpany to use.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Delivery of Gift Baskets in Ireland differs slightly from the service that is on offer in the United States. The Main differences are:

1) There is absolutely no Saturday or Sunday delivery service available. Local florists will probably deliver on Saturdays, but there is absolutely no chance of having anything delivered on a Sunday in Ireland. For special occasions such as Mother's Day and Father's Day, certain companies will deliver on this day at a surcharge. The exception to this rule is Northern Ireland. Saturday delivery can be executed in the 6 counties of Down, Antrim, Derry, Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh. but it will cost an extra £15.

The reason for this is that the Irish couriers don't find it economically viable to open on Saturdays and their workers don't want to work on a Saturday.
2) There are no zip or post-codes in Ireland. As you can imagine, this makes things more awkward and more prone to human error. It is not uncommon to have addresses which are more like descriptions of where the house is located rather than a proper address.
We are frequently asked by American customers in particular why we can't deliver on Christmas or over the holidays. This is because the couriers don't operate over this time. Basically Ireland closes down at 5.30pm on Christmas Eve and most businesses don't reopen until the 3/4 January.
Last year many customers again mostly from the States would try to order 2 days before Christmas. Irish Gourmet would explain that delivery even in the UK could not be before Christmas, so would send after Christmas. However, many of the address that we were sending to were closed for the Christmas period, which meant that the recipients were not receiving their Christmas Basket until the first week in January.
Therefore this year we would strongly recommend that for deliveries to Ireland, customers order as early as possible. This year Irish Gourmet expects to sell out in Early to Mid - December at the very latest and has already been taking advance orders for past 2 months.
Finally, certain areas of Ireland especially the west coast are so inaccessible that it can take 2-3 days to enable delivery. What we are very keen to ensure is that all orders are delivered prior to Christmas Day, so will use our own common sense to do our best on your behalf.

All Irish Gourmet deliveries within Ireland require a signature. One option available to customers is to send Irish Gourmet an e-mail giving permission for the delivery driver to leave without a signature. Although this may sound hard to believe, in remote areas it usually works as the delivery driver will leave in a garage or nearby post-office or with somebody in the village.
Whilst Irish Gourmet cannot accept any liability for any losses or damages for customers who avail of this service, our experiences to date have been very positive.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Qualifications for Irish Gourmet Entry
It can be difficult finding products in Northern Ireland and even to an extent in the Irish Republic, which are suitable for entry to the Irish Gourmet site. There is no problem securing fresh tasty products, but packaging is a different matter altogether.
Due to the island mentality, many food producers tended to have looked towards their domestic customers and skimped on the question of packaging.
The producers themselves will testify to this themselves, that they would rather spend their budget on the product itself rather than an improved quality of packaging. However, things are changing; ever decreasing transportation and distribution costs are enabling producers to innovate and introduce higher quality packaging yet maintain the quality of the food produced.
Irish Gourmet can play an important part in the development of the Northern Irish Fine Food and Artisan Industry by revealing customer preferences and tastes. With an absolutely huge array of products, the Irish Gourmet can identify customer taste preferences and then make suggestions to their counterparts in the Basketsgalore Gift Basket and Hamper Division of the company. For instance the prevalence of Irish Porter Cake within the Basketsgalore range of hampers is a reflection of its popularity on an individual basis in Irish Gourmet.
Indeed what's more is that this Christmas Irish Gourmet is working with a leading baker from Newry in Co. Down, Northern Ireland to produce a Mourne Mountain Valley Artisan Porter Cake. The baker in question won a Gold Medal in the UK Great Taste Awards for this cake in 2006 and a Silver Medal recently in 2006.
When Basketsgalore first started at the turn of the century, it was difficult to procure Gourmet food products, now only the finest can qualify and sometimes its a question of getting on the road and travelling to find them. We'll bring you our experiences as we travel.
The Irish Gourmet

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hello, I am the Irish Gourmet. Join me as I travel around Ireland finding the finest food and speaking to the producers and food critics of Ireland. My goal is to bring the highest quality foods to the attention of the people of Ireland and the United Kingdom.