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Cost of Living
23rd March 2020

Think of others and shop responsibly

The Consumer Council and the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium have come together in an unprecedented joint plea to ask consumers to "be considerate" and stop over-buying food and other products as unfortunately means others are going without. This call is in response to the rise in over-buying in the past few weeks fuelled by Corona Virus worries.

John French, Chief Executive at The Consumer Council said, “We recognise that many people in Northern Ireland are rightly worried about the spread of Coronavirus, and everyone understands why this has led to over-buying in our supermarkets and other grocery shops. However, following discussions with the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, The Consumer Council are reassured that empty shelves at supermarkets will not occur if households undertake their normal shopping patterns, and only buy what they usually need for themselves and their families."

Aodhán Connolly, Director, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium explained, “Over-buying is unfortunately causing unnecessary challenges for retailers. Supermarkets have enough products to go around, but they are under pressure with this sudden increase in demand.  Food retailers are focusing all their efforts on getting as much food onto their shelves as possible, and we would therefore ask that consumers work with retailers at this time, and only buy what they need.”

Aodhán and John added that, “We would ask shoppers to be considerate to towards supermarket staff at this difficult time. Abuse is not part of the job especially when workers are doing an amazing job in difficult circumstances.  Shoppers must act responsibly to ensure everyone can get what they need, particularly the most vulnerable who may find regular shopping difficult. Some people, should they be carers, disabled, the elderly or for other reasons, can only shop once a week. We need them to have access to what they need”

The Consumer Council has worked with the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, and others, to   produce a Coronavirus Factsheet that provides consumers in Northern Ireland with up-to-date advice regarding supermarkets, retailers, energy suppliers, public transport, air and ferry travel etc. This factsheet can be found on The Consumer Council’s website: