The production costs of domestic tomatoes and cucumbers have increased by several dozen percent. The sale price of cucumbers, however, has decreased on year, and initially high tomato prices have returned to last year's level. Even if producers should want to increase prices, they can't, as consumers wouldn't be able to afford them anymore.
Pärnu County's Võiste Aiand OÜ is selling tomatoes at 20 percent higher prices than last year.
"Price increases are being driven by 20 percent inflation, then a 100-percent increase in fuel costs, plus fertilizers," Võiste Aiand board member Viljar Metsaoru said. "The price increase on fertilizers — each delivery to arrive has a different price. Everything has to be doubled — if something was €100 before, now it's all €200."
Intsu talu owner Voldemar Kamenik spoke of the same, noting that fuel alone, which accounts for 30 percent of the company's turnover, has doubled in price. More expensive inputs, however, don't mean that they can increase tomato prices for long.
While domestic tomato-growers initially began selling tomatoes this year at 20 percent higher prices, Intsu talu has since reduced prices to last year's levels again.
"It hasn't grown much, and it isn't going to increase compared with last year, because people can't afford it anyway," Kamenik explained. "People are impoverished, prices have increased — all prices — and that is why it's not possible to sell at any higher prices."
Luunja cucumber producer Grüne Fee is faced with the same issue as well — while input prices are up, they can't increase the prices of their own final product. On the contrary, Luunja cucumbers are currently being sold 5 percent cheaper than last year.
"On average, prices on the input side — that is, packaging materials, plastic film products, fertilizers — have increased 50-70 percent and there's no end in sight there, as for many supplies, the specific price of each new delivery is clarified immediately prior to shipment," said Grüne Fee Eesti CEO Raivo Külasepp. "In that sense, there's nothing we can do; we sell at the prices we can, at [the prices] our clients are willing to accept it."
ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" asked people about their preferences and what they take into consideration when choosing tomatoes and cucumbers while grocery shopping.
"I want that Luunja [cucumber], but when it comes to tomatoes, it makes no difference to me," Erki Saarniit said. He added that he compares prices too, but said if domestic tomatoes were cheaper, he'd naturally opt for them.
"Price is still key," Keiu Pindis said. "If there isn't as much work as there should be, then you have to look at prices." She chooses both cucumbers and tomatoes according to price.
"Our preference tends to be based on price, but when Estonian ones are cheaper, we take Estonian ones too," said Kalmer Kabanen, adding that price is a pretty decisive factor. "When you have a big family, you have to look [at prices]."
Editor: Aili Vahtla