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20 July, 2024
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Lack of 'discounts' for the holiday table

Food costs are unchanged from last year as a result of offers, according to hypermarkets, while butchers' shops report rising meat costs.

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

This year's Christmas table is expected to be laden with delectable fare. This is a tool that supermarkets have enlisted in order to retain customers and possibly increase sales, even in times of inflation. In fact, in the week leading up to Christmas, basic products appear to be prominently featured in supermarket promotional leaflets. This should help to keep the cost of this year's holiday table to a minimum. According to Andreas Hatziadamos, executive secretary of the supermarket association, food and meal prices are expected to be the same as the corresponding period last year based on these offers.  However, the president of the butchers' association, Kostas Livadiotis, stated that meat prices will rise by 30% on average. The Consumer Protection Service's Price Observatory and the Consumer Association's survey, both of which are expected to be published next Thursday, will provide a clearer picture of how much a household will pay for the Christmas table.

Peak traffic

In the coming days, the offers will intensify, particularly on delicacies and primarily consumer goods related to the festive table.

However, the market has recently improved, with increased foot traffic at food retailers and elsewhere. Of course, the peak is expected on Saturday, December 24. It is common knowledge that Christmas Eve is traditionally the busiest day of the year and that this year it coincides with the busiest day of the week - Saturday - and this translates to more foot traffic and sales.

The offers

With the household basket debate still on hold, the consumer's only tool for adequately covering the needs for the festive table at the most reasonable price possible is the offers. According to the Hypermarket's Association, the offers will intensify in the coming days, particularly in dishes and consumer goods related to the festive table. The top three consumer preferences are alcoholic beverages, Christmas treats, and meat products. These products are at the top of the list, regardless of price increases or profit constraints.  Price increases are inevitable, but supermarkets largely absorb them, according to Hatziadamou. He estimates that the cost of the Christmas table will be the same as in 2021 due to the absorption of some costs, but also the availability of offers, at least in supermarkets. The fierce competition in the industry and the supermarkets' efforts to keep customers and grow their market share are largely to blame for the existence of tenders.

Meat prices up to 30% more

However, increases of up to 30% are expected in meat prices compared to the same period last year. Costas Livadiotis, president of the Butchers' Association, told K that market prices for all types of meat are rising, though there are price fluctuations. Lamb is the most expensive meat, costing €12-€14 per kilo, followed by beef at €10-€11 per kilo. Prices for pork and turkey are similar, hovering around €6-€7/kg on the market. Chicken is the cheapest meat, with prices ranging from €3 to €4.5/kilo. It should be noted that the prices are based on the President of the Butchers' Association's statements. The Observatory's official figures are expected by the end of the week.  Lamb is the most popular Christmas meat and the best-selling meat on the market these days. This is followed by sales of pork and turkey. Mr. Livadiotis, on the other hand, spoke of shortages in all Cypriot meat except pork, with stocks being covered by imports.

[This article was first published in Kathimerini's 'Oikonomiki' printed edition and was translated from its Greek original]

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