ECONOMY

More food price hikes to come

Supermarkets’ stock of cheaper products is set to run out, leading to further increases

more-food-price-hikes-to-come

Household budgets may soon face even greater price hikes in the coming months and at least up until the end of the second quarter of 2022. This is because a series of increases decided by suppliers have yet to trickle into consumer prices, and the costs of a wide range of raw materials remain at particularly high levels.

The fact that the wave of hikes has now reached basic food commodities renders the problem even more acute, especially for relatively vulnerable households, which according to the latest data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) channel 35.5% of their total monthly spending toward food.

The food bill has jumped since the start of the year: Out of the 60 food products that ELSTAT monitors in the context of its surveys for the consumer price index, prices had increased in 44 of them by October, ranging from 0.49% all the way up to 21.45% for lamb and goat meat.

A series of products have seen considerable increases, ranging from bread, which is 3.71% more expensive than it was at the start of the year, to olive oil, which is now 17.92% pricier than in January. In between there have also been hikes in the prices of fresh vegetables (up 13.34% within 10 months), fresh fruit (9.52%), seafood (5%), potatoes (which have risen 1.92% from January but 9.1% from October 2020), milk (2.81%), sugar (2.47%) and many more categories of food products.

Even if one decides to substitute coffee – whose prices have soared and will rise further – with tea, they will still have to spend more as its price has risen 3.59% since January.

The reason not all commodity hikes by suppliers have reached the shelves is that supermarkets, operating in a very competitive environment, have had large stocks of several product categories that were purchased at lower rates.

Once that cheaper stock runs out, shelf prices will increase more significantly, in line with supplier rates, according to market professionals, while the pricier stock will likely outlast the supplier hikes.