Estonian households among EU's highest spenders on food in 2019

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Food selection at an Estonian supermarket.

Estonia was among the top three European Union countries for percentage of household spend on food in 2019, according to a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by the EU's own statistical office, Eurostat, found that Estonian households spent 19.3 percent of their total outgoings on food products and non-alcoholic beverages in 2019, compared with an EU average of 13 percent.

Across the EU, €956 billion was spent on food and non-alcoholic drinks, making up 6.8 percent of the union's GDP and the third-most significant expenditure category after housing and utilities costs, and also transport, which was only slightly higher at 13.1 percent of total spend.

The two countries whose households spent a higher proportion on food and drinks were Romania (26 percent of the total) and Lithuania (20.2 percent).

At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest proportions came in Ireland (8.6 percent), followed by Luxembourg (8.9 percent) and Austria (9.7 percent).

The general trend across the EU has been for a fall in propotion of household expenditure on food, with the largest fall here coming in Lithuania, where the share decreased from 25.4 percent in 2009 to 20.2 percent 10 years later.

Some countries have bucked that trend, however, including the Czech Republic, where the share grew from 14.2 percent to 15.5 percent over the same period.

Food prices and inflation have long been viewed as an issue in Estonia. For 2020, it was deflation in food prices during the pandemic which contributed to a fall in prices, just as rising food prices had helped fuel inflation in the previous year.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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