New research conducted by Zahra shows the impact of the cost of living crisis on our diets, relationships and parenting

Zahra launches the findings of its H1 consumer sentiment report

  • Almost half (48%) have cut items from their diet due to price increases 
  • Over three-quarters (78%) of people think it’s too expensive to eat healthily in Ireland
  • 2023 to date: grocery shopping is the number one concern for two-thirds of respondents (66%) – supermarkets with loyalty programmes are preferred
  • Current biggest concern is utility bills (76%), with 54% of people making sacrifices to pay the bills 
  • Over half (51%) won’t holiday in Ireland this year as the majority (80%) believe it’s too expensive
  • Pandemic effect: almost two thirds (65%) believe the COVID-19 pandemic has had long-lasting effects on their social habits

Irish families are struggling to afford household items, pay utility bills, purchase clothes, and dine out due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, according to Zahra’s latest consumer sentiment report.

It found that families are struggling to afford the essentials, with almost half (48%) cutting foods from their diets in order to save on costs. The current economic climate has also had an impact on nutrition, with the majority (78%) believing it is too expensive to eat healthily in Ireland. 

Zahra’s bi-annual consumer sentiment report aims to investigate the feelings, attitudes, shared experiences and pain points of over 2,000 consumers in Ireland. Zahra is the Founder and Publishing Group behind online parenting community everymum, and Ireland’s best-selling food magazine, easyFood. 


Reflecting on 2023 to date, grocery shopping has been the biggest concern for two thirds of respondents (66%) struggling to navigate the cost of living crisis. It’s no surprise that a quarter of research participants (25%) have changed grocery provider over the past six months, with the vast majority (93%) opting for supermarkets providing loyalty incentives.

When asked what price increases have shocked people the most, butter came out on top (39%), followed by chicken (26%), and fruit and veg (13%). Despite necessary cuts in the grocery shopping list, the majority (81%) of respondents still do a second weekly shop.


With utility costs being the current number one concern for over three quarters (76%) of participants nationwide, it’s no surprise that over half (54%) have made sacrifices in order to pay the bills. Of those surveyed, more than half (55%) have swapped the oven for an Air Fryer, with 4 in 10 making this purchase with reduced energy consumption in mind.  

Buying new clothes was the top item people have paired back on (81%), followed by eating out (71%) and takeaways (53%). As we look towards the second half of 2023, many are planning to take a break from travel, with over two thirds (69%) abstaining from holidaying abroad. Over half (51%) won’t holiday in Ireland this year as the majority (80%) believe it’s too expensive.

When it comes to participants’ non-negotiables during the cost of living crisis, hairdresser visits was number one for a third of respondents (34%), followed by purchasing coffees while out and about (31%), and exercise classes (15%). 


Despite the financial strain and subsequent mental toll caused by the cost of living crisis, 72% of people say the current economic climate has not impacted their relationships. Of those who say it has impacted their connections, just under half (48%) say their relationship with their partner has suffered, followed by 29% who say friends, and 18% who say family.

Interestingly, people across Ireland are still feeling the brunt of the pandemic when it comes to their relationships. Almost two thirds (65%) believe the COVID-19 pandemic has had long-lasting effects on their social habits, with 64% declaring to be less social because of COVID-19. Over half (56%) go out less, and a third (34%) simply enjoy spending more time at home. 


The findings show the youth of Ireland are also suffering as a result of the economic crisis, with over half of parents (52%) believing their kids’ experiences are now limited due to the financial strain on the family. The majority (81%) have cut back on expenses including trips (50%) and activities (37%). 

Commenting on the research, Gina Miltiadou, MD and Co-Founder of Zahra said:

“The results from our latest consumer sentiment report, based on the life experiences of over 2,000 people from our owned media communities, paint a very clear picture of how people are feeling as we embark on the second half of the year. The research shows that the Cost of Living crisis is having an impact on more than just a household’s ability to pay the bills. The crisis is spanning many, many facets of Irish people’s lives including nutrition, our children’s life experiences and our social habits.”


For more information, contact:

Siobhán Grogan, Head of Custom Content, Zahra

Grace Sallis, Account Manager, Zahra