Food inflation hits highest levels since 1983 at 4.63%

Food inflation hits highest levels since 1983 at 4.63%
Credit: Helen Lyons / The Brussels Times.

Food inflation in Belgium has climbed to 4.63%, the highest figure since 1983. Last month, food inflation (including alcoholic beverages) was at 3.84%.

Overall inflation in Belgium has also soared to new heights, which now weighs heavily on food production, according to the Flemish centre for agriculture and horticulture (VILT).

Of the 234 products in the basket of the Federal Public Service Economy, barely 20 have seen a drop in price, VILT says.

Prices increases ‘in the double digits’

Butter, pasta and olive oil have become more expensive by 12-13%. Coffee, potatoes, milk and fresh fish went up by 8%.

Fevia, the federation of the Belgian food industry, says food companies are experiencing cost increases.

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“We are looking at price increases in the double digits,” said spokesperson Nicholas Courant.

Belgium is not alone in the struggle with steep inflation. But with levels now at 8.31% overall, it is among the worst affected: in Spain, inflation shot up to almost 10% in March. In Germany, it rose from 5.1 to 7.3% in the same time.

Grocery stores already feeling the pressure

The effects can already be seen in grocery stores and the Belgian government created a task force to prevent empty shelves in supermarkets.

Even before exacerbating factors like the war in Ukraine, the food sector was suffering under increased energy prices and a rise in global commodity prices that narrowed its profit margins.

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