It is cheaper for Belgians to shop in supermarkets in France, Germany or the Netherlands, and the gap in prices even increased slightly between 2012 and 2017, Le Soir, De Standaard, Gazet van Antwerpen and Het Nieuwsblad reported on Tuesday, quoting the annual report of the Observateur des Prix (Price Observatory). In 2017, goods in Belgian supermarkets cost on average 13.4% more than in Germany, 12.9% more than in the Netherlands and 9.1% more than in France.
The study was based on the prices of 65,000 goods common to supermarkets in Belgium and at least one of the neighbouring countries.
The widest gap was in body care and hygiene goods, which were 26.8% more expensive in Belgium than in Germany, although they were just 5.8% more expensive than in France. However, all categories of goods, from cleaning products to processed foods were more expensive than across the border.
On explanation given in the report is that distributors award themselves higher mark-ups in Belgium than in Germany or France. Another is that territorial restrictions on supply, imposed by certain suppliers, also seem to play a role.