Canteens given free rein on most prices

Canteens and snack bars in niche markets will be free to charge what they want for their goods, with the exception of nine products, including coffee and sandwiches, whose prices will be set by the government, according to a decision made by the Development Ministry yesterday. The ruling applies to canteens and snack bars at places like airports and archaeological sites, and on ferries. The set prices of some of the nine items will actually be lower than at present. An espresso coffee, for example, will cost 1.50 euros rather than 2.50, while a ham and cheese sandwich will be priced at 1.50 euros rather than up to 3.60. The restrictions will only apply to standing customers. Owners will be free to price the rest of their goods as they see fit. This overturns a 2003 rule that allowed snack bars to make a maximum profit of 45 percent on most of the items they sold.