ECONOMY

Local dairy firms milk consumers with prices above European norms

The difference in the price of fresh milk in Greece compared to Germany or Britain is unjustifiably large, as a special report by Skai television has shown. Although Greek producers get the same price as their German colleagues for the milk they produce, Greek customers pay much more for the final product. The Skai survey in Greece (Macedonia and Epirus), Germany and the UK showed that Greeks spend some 400 million euros per year more on milk, a basic commodity. Milk producers in Germany receive 0.30 euros per liter, against 0.29 euros/liter in Britain and 0.32 euros/liter in Greece. The difference increases greatly by the time the product reaches the consumers: A liter of milk costs 0.55-0.65 euros in Germany, 1.05 euros in Britain and 1.20-1.40 in Greece on average. Skai reporters visited the plant of Milch Union in Cologne, which uses milk from producers in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. Although this is a cooperative industry, it operates according to private standards and processes more than 40 tons of cow’s milk per day. Some 4 million milk cartons go out of the plant every day, either under a famous brand label or under one of four supermarket labels. The quality of the milk remains the same, whether it is destined for sale under the well-known brand or under the supermarket label, said the industry’s officials. They noted that the drop in prices in Germany is mostly due to the lower prices offered by discount supermarkets, as rival chains have been forced to lower their prices, too.