Spaghetti to Gouda cheese: Groceries 12% more expensive than last year

Spaghetti to Gouda cheese: Groceries 12% more expensive than last year
Credit: Belga

While it comes as no surprise that prices in supermarkets have been rising strongly for several months, shopping for groceries in August already cost 12.33% more than it did the same month last year.

Mustard, spaghetti, stationery and butter were at least 30% more expensive than in August 2021, consumer protection organisation Test-Achats calculated. The group compared the prices of 3,000 products in major Belgian supermarkets: Albert Heijn, Carrefour, Colruyt, Cora, Delhaize, Aldi and Lidl.

"Compared to last month, another percent has been added. Not a figure to be cheerful about with the expensive month of September approaching for many families," the organisation said in a press release, stressing that its calculations only concern essential food and household products.

A household of two people now spends €48 more on the same shopping cart than it did last year. Compared to July 2022, €4 has been added.

From spaghetti to mustard

The products that increased most in price were spaghetti (+35%), paper goods such toilet paper, kitchen roll and paper tissues (+33%) and butter (+30%). But above all mustard (+36%), of which there is a Europe-wide shortage with the war interrupting the supply of ingredients.

In both July and August, mustard prices even rose by 10% per month. The mustard seeds for the European market are mainly produced in Russia and Ukraine, which makes them more difficult to obtain because of the war.

Dairy products also became 1% more expensive than last month and now cost 17% more than a year ago. Test-Achats noted an especially sharp increase for Gouda cheese (+27%), semi-skimmed milk (+24%), yoghurt and eggs (+16%) as well as ground Emmental (+15%).

Yoghurt, in particular, has seen a sharp increase in price since last month, likely due to increased milk and energy prices and wage costs. These prices are expected to rise even further in the short term due to difficult price negotiations between Danone and various supermarket chains.

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Fish and meat have become 14% more expensive than in August 2021. Among others, grey shrimps (+33%), cod fillet (+22%) and poultry (+20%) became much more expensive.

While the price for fine meats and pet food (+12%) and frozen food (+10%) also rose, the increase remained close to the general price rise, and the increase for vegetables (+5%) and fruit (+4%) remained limited.

Additionally, deep-frying oil (+26%), coffee (+21%), mayonnaise (+21%), flour (+20%), rice (+14%) and strawberry jam (+13%) also rose sharply. "It may be a consolation that chocolate rose by only 4%," said Test-Achats.

Maintenance products are now on average 13% more expensive, with noticeable increases for dishwasher tablets (+24%), all-purpose cleaners (+16%) and toilet cleaners (+15%).

Better times soon to come?

There may be light at the end of the tunnel, at least as far as food commodities are concerned, Test-Achats believes: the international price of grain fell by 11.5% in July as grain shipments from Ukraine resumed and several countries had good grain harvests. Additionally, vegetable oil became 19.2% cheaper on the international markets.

"Hopefully this will be reflected in the supermarket in the coming months."

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