Cost of groceries up 18% on last year

Cost of groceries up 18% on last year
A packed shopping cart in a Delhaize supermarket. Credit: Belga/ Charlotte Gekiere

An average shopping trolley at Belgian supermarkets is 18% more expensive than this time last year, with shrimp, frozen chips and spaghetti, in particular, becoming pricier.

The fact that supermarket prices are rising is nothing new. Already in August, shopping for groceries cost 12.33% more than it did the same month last year. Now, a more recent calculation by consumer protection organisation Test-Achats found that the food cost crisis is burning an ever greater hole in household budgets, as groceries are on average 18% higher than 12 months ago.

"The rising cost of our basket worries us," said Laura Clays, spokesperson for Test-Achats. "Energy prices may be falling but they remain incredibly high. More than ever, we encourage consumers to compare prices in the supermarket by kilo or litre and to watch out for promotions."

Although this slight drop in energy prices resulted in overall inflation falling this month (from 12.27% to 10.63%), food inflation continues. Test-Achats once again carried out a comparison of around 3,000 products in seven supermarket chains' shops to understand the impact of this.

Grey shrimp and frozen chips soar

Among the products of which the cost increased most, grey shrimp ranked first: the cost of this Belgian Christmas favourite increased 61%. Second are frozen chips (+47%), whose cost rose "out of nowhere", Test-Achats commented.

Other top victims of inflation are aluminium foil, spaghetti (+41%) and paper goods. Only Granny Smith apples (-5%) and salted peanuts (-3%) fell in price compared to a year ago.

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The cost of dairy products has also seen the sharpest rise in recent months. " Overall, you now pay 24% more for your dairy, with young (gouda) cheese (+37%), butter (+33%) and semi-skimmed milk (+32%) being the outliers," Test-Achats noted.

Overall, a shopping trolley for a household of two people now costs €488, €75 more than a year ago.

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