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Milk prices see increase following last year's unsustainable lows

Rows of milk cartons in an Estonian grocery store. Jan. 18, 2017.
Rows of milk cartons in an Estonian grocery store. Jan. 18, 2017. Source: (Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR)

ERR's online news portal reported repeatedly last year on how the purchase price of milk had dropped below its own cost of production and yet dairies' and retailers' price pressure did not allow for it to increase. The purchase price has increased twice since last fall, however, meaning that milk producers are finally seeing fair prices for their milk.

Last year, consumers were paying an average of 35 cents per liter for milk in stores while milk producers were being paid 21-23 cents per liter, which was not enough to cover production costs. Following two price hikes, the purchase price of milk has risen to 32 cents per liter, increasing the average retail price of milk to 55 cents per liter.

ERR's online news portal did a brief supermarket tour in order to get an overview of the current cost of milk sold in bags — which retails for cheaper than milk cartons — at different chains.

Prisma continued to offer the cheapest bagged milk on the market, with their own Pere brand milk costing 47 cents per liter; in comparison, Tere and Alma milk cost 59 and 62 cents, respectively.

Maxima's cheapest bagged milk was likewise its own Armas brand, costing 48 cents per liter, while Farmi and Tere brand milk sold for 54 and 56 cents, respectively.

Selver, which does not produce its own brand of milk, sold Alma milk for 53 cents a gallon while Tere milk cost 59 cents per gallon.

Coop, which also operates under the Maksimarket, Konsum and A ja O brands, offered only Farmi-brand bagged milk, which cost 55 cents per liter.

The production and sale of the Aus brand of milk previously offered by Coop has ceaased. Aus ("Honest" in Estonian) milk was the brand of a milk producers' cooperative whose higher sale price was meant to help guarantee sufficient income for the producers. As the purchase price of milk has reached the 32 cents desired by milk producers by now, there was no longer any need to produce and market such milk. Aus-brand milk was sold in one-liter cartons which cost 79 cents, an average of ten cents more per liter than the price of other milk sold in cartons.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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