Sales of fruit and vegetable were up €7 million year on year in January as consumers appear to have started the year with good intentions.

The new phenomenon of Veganuary is credited with driving a 35% increase in the sale of vegetable side dishes and vegetarian sausages and burgers.

The figures from Kantar Worldpanel Ireland also point to 40% increase in the sale of plant-based milks in the month.

After a record-breaking festive spending period, consumers cut back on their grocery spend in January, the figures show.

"While families were willing to splurge in the run up to Christmas, January has seen them cut back," Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel said.

"The average household spent €120 less on groceries during the four weeks to 27 January than in December.  Shoppers were less likely to reach for more expensive branded and premium products, with sales falling 28% and 31% compared with December 2018."
 

While some appear to have embraced the concept of adding more plant based foods to their diet, not everyone was adhering to a 'Dry January.'

More than a third of Irish households bought either beer, cider or wine, Kantar Worldpanel says.

"Wine proved to be the most popular with 25% of shoppers taking home at least one bottle during the past four weeks," according to Douglas Faughnan.

Dunnes retained the top spot with just over 23% market share in the 12 weeks to the end of January.

The retailer recorded sales growth of 4% in the period.

Tesco remained in second place followed by SuperValu in third, with market shares of 22.1% and 21.6% respectively.

Aldi and Lidl continued to grow sales in the period with both discounters registering a market share of well over 10%.

"Both retailers achieved record market share over Christmas and that strong performance has continued into the new year  Aldi increased sales by 10% and Lidl by 5.2%," Mr Faughnan explained.