I might be missing something here. Over the past few years, luxury expensive food shop Donnybrook Fair has been popping up all over wealthy Dublin suburbs. Most recently, they’ve appeared up in Stillorgan shopping centre, right beside Tesco (on a side note, I wonder what Stillorgan’s anchor tenant thinks of its new neighbour).
It doesn’t seem like the most ridiculous location for Donnybrook Fair. First, the two shops ostensibly appeal to different demographics. Second, some people might pick up most of the groceries in Tesco and get a few more in Donnybrook Fair.
But look closer.
Here’s some price comparisons, carried out on Friday July 29 between 1pm-2pm. I’ve mostly stuck to basics like bread, butter, jam, milk, and tea.*
|Donnybrook Fair (Stillorgan SC)||Tesco (Stillorgan SC)|
|Bananas||€1.89 per kg||€1.25 per kg|
|Brennan’s white sliced pan||€1.89||€1.58|
|Kerrygold butter (454g)||€3.39||€2.95|
|John West tuna (sunflower oil)||€2.29||€2.09|
|Lyons teabags (80’s)||€4.48||€3.19|
|Bonne Maman raspberry jam||€3.99||€2.99|
*Yes, of course Donnybrook Fair, an independent retailer without the buying clout of transnational corporation Tesco, is going to cost more, and it’s great to support the smaller, more innovative guy if you can afford it. Yes, their fresher food is better quality. Yes, their bananas might be nicer, if you can afford them.
**Pineapple in Donnybrook Fair was larger
There’s a few conclusions you could make. Either some DF shoppers are happy to pay significantly above the odds for a product they could get next door, or they’ve too much money to think it through. Certainly, judging by the very crude stereotype of the number of people hopping into BMW SUVs with DF bags, there’s still plenty of money in Ireland.
Maybe DF is hoping they won’t want to go and queue in Tesco so they’ll just get the the damned butter here – but with unemployment high food prices rising, people are shopping around more and checking the bargains.
Of course, Donnybrook Fair is more about the fresh food products you can’t get in Tesco: the quality meals to take home, the fine cheeses, cereals that aren’t manufactured by Kellogg’s and Nestle, Tyrell’s crisps, excellent meats and so on. But even their ready meals are beyond what I’d be willing to pay: €8.99 for spinach and ricotta tortellini (600g), €9.99 for pesto baked chicken, and €7.25 for lasagna. Maybe they’re extraordinary ready meals and worth every cent, but I can’t afford to find out.
However! They do stock some very exceptional products. On my fact-finding mission, I treated myself to a bag of high-quality ground coffee. Paddy and Scott’s coffee, even though it cost €5.67 for 227g, is really special and worth every cent. “Great With Friends”, one of their slightly gimmicky “Time of Day” brands is extraordinary: chocolate and caramel flavours without too much sweetness or vanilla. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves or even hates coffee.
In conclusion on Donnybrook Fair: a great place for the occasional treat and a more pleasant layout than most garishly lit supermarkets, but cheap eat it is not.
Have you shopped in Donybrook Fair? Is it an occasional treat, your main supermarket, or a vacuum cleaner for rich, overindulgent wallets?