In April-June, food product prices increased in all three Baltic States. Food products are more expensive in supermarkets in Riga when compared to neighbouring countries, according to data from the head of Agricultural Market Promotion Department of the Institute of Agro-Resource and Economics Inguna Gulbe.
“Baltic States are no exception, similarly to the rest of the world, food product prices have increased significantly in recent months,” said Gulbe.
At the same time, she said that, when looking at the general past experience, all three Baltic States experienced a degree of panic with salt, buckwheat and black tea in the past. In Estonia, for example, these products did not fully return to store shelves last month. In Latvia and Lithuania, on the other hand, shelves have been already full by then. However, products did become more expensive at the same time.
Gulbe also said that a comparison of food products among supermarket chains in Baltic capital cities revealed that food products in Latvia were generally more expensive than products in Lithuania and Estonia. Prices in Lidl stores are more or less the same.
“This once again demonstrates that scale plays a major part in the economy,” said Gulbe, noting at the same time that Latvian cucumbers cost less in Lidl store in Tallinn than they did in Riga.
She also explained that one of he reasons why coffee, for example, was more expensive in Latvia was because the excise tax for coffee in the country was 1.42 EUR/kg.
“In the future the biggest problem will be low purchasing power, rather than expensive food. And it cannot go up without entrepreneurship developing. Money generates money. If there is entrepreneurship, there will be wages and taxes. People will not have to worry if food products become a couple of euros more expensive because they will be able to afford them this way,” said Gulbe.
Information available to the Institute of Agro-Resource and Economics indicates that in Latvia, when compared to Estonia and Lithuania, potatoes are more expensive: 0.74 EUR/kg in Latvia, 0.56 EUR/kg in Estonia and 0.61 EUR/kg in Lithuania. Latvia also has more expensive carrots when compared to the other two Baltic States: 0.85 EUR/kg (0.57 EUR/kg in Estonia).
At the same time, local cucumbers cost 1.89 EUR/kg in Latvia, whereas their price in Estonia was nearly twice as high in Estonia – 3.56 EUR/kg.
In Lithuania imported cucumbers cost 0.99 EUR/kg, which is nearly half as cheap when compared to Latvia, where imported cucumbers cost 1.84 EUR/kg. Local tomatoes are the most expensive in Estonia – 5.59 EUR/kg, whereas the cheapest local tomatoes are in Lithuania – 2.49 EUR/kg. In Latvia local tomatoes cost 3.99 EUR/kg.
In the fruits category in Baltic States Latvia has the highest price for bananas, oranges, lemons and pears, as well as the lowest prices for cherries, plums and blueberries. For example, the average price of bananas in Latvia was 1.59 EUR/kg (1.27 EUR/kg in Estonia and 1.29 EUR/kg in Lithuania).
Of the three Baltic States the price of eggs and Yellow Label tea was the lowest in Latvia, whereas the price of salt, sugar, buckwheat, coffee and butter was the highest.
For example, the price of salt in Lithuania was 0.49 EUR/kg (0.7 EUR/kg in Estonia and 1.05 EUR/kg in Latvia). Sugar in Estonia cost an average of 0.66 EUR/kg (0.69 in Lithuania and 0.96 EUR/kg in Latvia). Buckwheat in Lithuania cost 2.67 EUR/kg (2.7 EUR/kg in Estonia and 3.82 in Latvia). Coffee was the cheapest in Estonia in Q2, where it cost 11.46 EUR/kg (13.78 EUR/kg in Lithuania and 16.46 EUR/kg in Latvia). The price of butter was the lowest in Lithuania (7.94 EUR/kg). In Estonia butter cost 8.8 EUR/kg and in Latvia – 10.97 EUR/kg.
Over the course of the year prices have increased the most for potatoes in Estonia – 2.8-fold, with prices increasing from 0.2 EUR/kg to 0.56 EUR/kg, followed by buckwheat – by 86% per kg, as well as L-size eggs (47%). The price of ten eggs increased from EUR 1.51 to EUR 2.23.
In Lithuania prices have increased the most for potatoes – 2.3-fold, with prices increasing from 0.27 to 0.61 EUR/kg, followed by buckwheat – 2.2-fold, prices increasing from 1.24 to 2.67 EUR/kg, as well as beats – 2.1-fold, prices increasing from 0.37 to 0.77 EUR/kg. (BNN/Business World Magazine)