Irish Brands Hold Their Own In Checkout’s Top 100 Brands, In Association With Nielsen IQ

By Jamie Lane
Irish Brands Hold Their Own In Checkout’s Top 100 Brands, In Association With Nielsen IQ

Coca-Cola Named As Ireland’s Biggest Selling Brand For 17th Year In A Row

Ireland’s biggest brands are putting it up to their international counterparts in the latest edition of the Checkout Top 100 Brands, produced by Checkout magazine, the leading magazine for the grocery retail sector in Ireland, in partnership with NielsenIQ.

Coca-Cola tops Checkout’s Top 100 Brands this year, which means that this iconic global brand has claimed the number-one spot in our rankings for a record-breaking 17 years in succession. However, Coca-Cola is one of only two brands in our top-ten line-up that has managed to retain its position from 2020, the other being Lucozade, which is holding steady in the number-four position.

Checkout Top 100 Brands 2021*: The Top 10

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Tayto
  3. Dairy Milk
  4. Lucozade
  5. Avonmore
  6. Brennans
  7. Monster
  8. 7UP
  9. Red Bull
  10. Jacobs

* Produced in partnership with NielsenIQ


Changes at the top

Last year, Tayto moved into the top five to claim the third-place spot, having ranked sixth in 2019, and this year it rises further, to the number-two spot, pushing Dairy Milk down to the number-three position. Avonmore dropped down two places – and out of our top five altogether – last year, moving from fourth place in 2019 to sixth place in 2020, but this year it goes back up the rankings, to fifth place. Meanwhile, Brennans, which dropped down two places from its number-three position in 2019, to fifth place in 2020, falls further this year, to rank sixth.

We don’t see that many new entrants to the top-ten positions, but this year, Monster breaks through, moving up four places, from number 11 in 2020 to number seven in 2021. This means that 7UP has been pushed out of its eponymous seventh-place ranking, a position that it has held every year since 2011, apart from 2019. Red Bull, which broke into the top ten for the first time in 2018, moves from the number-ten position in 2020 to number nine in 2021, while Jacobs drops down two places, to the number-ten spot.

Flying high

A particularly high number of brands have delivered impressive performances in the rankings this year. Our biggest mover is Fitzgerald’s Family Bakery, which vaults a staggering 35 places, from number 76 in 2020 to number 41 in 2021. Other brands making very big moves up the rankings are Nestlé Aero, which is up 28 places, from number 87 to number 59, and Ben & Jerry’s, which is up 26 places, from number 75 to number 49. Alpro rises by 22 places, from number 67 to number 45, while M&Ms moves up 20 places, from number 71 to number 51.


Other performances of note include Lindt, which rises 15 places, from number 26 to number 11; Magnum, which rises 18 places, from number 32 to number 14; and Walkers, which goes up 12 places, from number 27 to number 15, in 2021. Doritos goes up 13 places, from number 46 to number 33, while Schweppes, which was one of three brands that made their Top 100 debuts last year – in this case, at number 100 – has gone up 18 places this year, to number 82 on our list.

What’s new?
Last year saw three brands enter the Top 100 for the first time: Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Kenco Instant Coffee, and popular branded-mixer range Schweppes. This year, we welcome Odlums and Felix to the Top 100, who rank at 96 and 98 respectively.

Shoppers reward Irish brands

“It is great to see so many Irish brands among this year’s biggest movers, with wonder brand VITHIT leaping up the rankings by 25 places, to number 43, from number 68 in 2020,” says Maev Martin, editor, Checkout. “Another highly successful Irish brand, Stafford’s Bakeries, rises an impressive 24 places, from number 86 to number 62, while family-run brand Keogh’s, which entered the Top 100 in 2018, at number 96, rises 23 places, from number 93 to number 70 this year. While Irish brands continue to make their mark on our Top 100 Brands list, well-known Irish brands are also newcomers to a few of our Top 100 Categories. These include Keogh’s, in Popcorn; The Happy Pear, in Chilled Pizza; Keohane’s, in Frozen Prepared Fish Products; and Chicken with Attitude, in Frozen Prepared Poultry Products.”

Other Irish brands that have delivered some big improvements on their rankings this year include Denny (Prepacked Sliced Meat), which is up 13 places, from number 34 in 2020 to number 21 in 2021; Carroll’s of Tullamore, which rises 11 places, from number 37 to number 26; Charleville, which is up 16 places, from number 53 to number 37; Clonakilty, which rises by 17 places, from number 73 to number 56; and O’Donnells Crisps, which is up 14 places, from number 78 to number 64.


“Like 2020, 2021 has been defined by the Covid-19 pandemic, which created a seismic shift in consumer purchasing habits,” says Maev Martin. “In 2020, we witnessed a big transition to in-home food and drink consumption. This continued into 2021 and will remain with us until there is a return to an open economy. We are also seeing strong sales growth for Irish brands, and shoppers have moved away from shopping little and often and are making fewer and bigger trips. All of this has benefitted FMCG brands in the grocery retail sector, and Irish brands have, once again, excelled in Checkout’s Top 100 Brands 2021. All of these performances, and the many other big ranking improvements by non-Irish brands, should generate some optimism in the grocery retail industry about the prospects for growth over the coming months.”

The Checkout Top 100 Brands is based on branded value sales across the Irish grocery sector, making it the most accurate barometer of the biggest selling brands in the marketplace. In compiling the report, NielsenIQ measures the sales performance of over 5,000 brands from over 200 product classes.

“During the past year, the Irish FMCG industry has come up against unprecedented challenges in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Karen Mooney, Commercial Market Leader Ireland, NielsenIQ. “Not only did consumers shop more than ever before, but the ways in which they shopped also changed. This year's Checkout Top 100 Brands report, in partnership with NielsenIQ, showcases those who were able to adapt to offer consumers what they needed during this uncertain time. As well as this, the positive performance of many Irish brands shows the nation’s effort to back local. While pandemic fads like banana bread may already have passed, a focus on buying local is set to continue as we begin to recover from this pandemic.”

The pandemic effect
A number of categories significantly improved their rankings in Checkout’s Top 100 Categories for 2021. The biggest jump was made by Health/Functional Drinks, which rises a phenomenal 27 places in 2021, from the number-87 position in 2020 to number 60.

“This massive upward move isn’t surprising, given consumers’ desire to improve their health and boost their immune systems during the pandemic,” says Maev Martin. “Hair Colourants, which last featured in our Top 100 in 2014, is the second-highest mover, rising by no fewer than 25 places, from outside the Top 100 last year – when it ranked at number 108 – to number 83. With hair salons closed for long periods during 2020 and into 2021, it isn’t surprising that this category has re-entered our Top 100 and simultaneously shot up the rankings.


“Three categories that rise by nine places, and whose significant progress has been influenced by consumers’ pandemic-driven focus on personal hygiene and health, are Liquid Soap, which goes from number 88 to 79, Special Dietary Products, which moves from number 50 to 41, and Vitamin and Minerals, which moves from number 91 to 82. Two of our other big risers reflect the fact that most of us have been spending more time at home than ever before: Dishwasher Products rises from number 68 to 58, while Powdered Baking Products, which also rises by ten places, moves from number 99 to 89.”

 Category leaders
Nine categories in our Top 100 experienced a change at the top in 2021.

In Pre-Packed Sliced Meat, Denny ousts Brady Family from the top spot, pushing it down to the number-three position. Andrex reclaims the number-one position from Cushelle, which drops down to second place, in the Toilet Tissues category. In the Detergents category, Ariel relinquishes its crown as the category-leading brand to Persil, which moves up from third place last year. In the Kitchen Towels category, Regina moves from second place to claim the number-one position, pushing last year’s category leader, Plenty, down to second place.

There is a new leader in Ambient Desserts, as Chivers displaces Ambrosia from the number-one position, and in Dishwasher Products, as Finish Powerball All-in-One moves to the top spot, from third place in 2020, pushing Fairy Platinum into second place. In Cooking Oils (Non-Olive), Crisp ’n’ Dry takes over the top spot from Fry Light, which drops back to fourth place, and in Liquid Soap, Radox claims the number-one position from Carex, who drops down to second. In Solid Baking Products, Dr Oetker rises from the number-three spot to claim the top spot from Shamrock, which drops down to third.

Ireland’s Top Alcohol Brands

Heineken leads the way in the Top 50 Alcohol brands list, for the eighth year in a row, while Santa Rita is Ireland’s biggest selling wine, topping the Top 20 Wines list. The biggest vodka brand in the world, Smirnoff continues to lead the Top 20 Spirits list, while Heineken is Ireland’s top selling beer, leading the Top 20 LADs (Long Alcoholic Drinks) list.

When it comes to the brands scoring the biggest improvements in their rankings on last year, the clear winner is Las Moras, which rises 16 places, to the number-17 position on our Top 50. That means that since DADÁ was launched on the Irish market by Comans, it has helped Las Moras climb a sensational 35 places up our Top 50 over the past two years. Similarly, Diageo’s extremely innovative and successful Rockshore brand has shot up our Top 50 list by an incredible 38 places over the past two years. This year, it leaps up the rankings by an impressive 14 places, to number 13, from number 27 last year.

Other big movers include Nastro Azzurro which rises up the rankings by 12 places, to number 19, having climbed 28 places in our Top 50 since 2019. Kopparberg achieves its highest listing ever, rising 12 places from the number-43 position in 2020, to number 31 in 2021, while Stella Artois also rises up the rankings by 12 places, from number 49 in 2020, to occupy the number-37 position.

This year, we have had no fewer than six new entries in our Checkout Top 50 Alcohol list. First up is Santa Helena, which joins the rankings at number 28, while Birra Moretti – a brand with which many TV viewers became familiar during the pandemic – rises 36 places from number 69, outside our Top 50 last year. Graham Norton’s Own has been a big success for the TV presenter, as it enters our Top 50 at number 45, while i heart wine is proving popular with consumers, vaulting into the Top 50 at number 47. Bodegas Faustino is another newcomer to our rankings, claiming the number-49 position, while Gordon’s LAD joins our list at number 48, reflecting the buoyant long-alcoholic-drinks market in Ireland over the past few years, and Gordon’s ability to diversify successfully within a booming gin market.

Click sign-up to receive your copy of the Checkout Top 100 Brands 2021 and avail of a limited-time 20% new customer discount.

 © 2021 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Maev Martin. 

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