January food prices: Rally continues

Meat counter at Tallinn's central market.
Meat counter at Tallinn's central market. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The sharp rise in food prices experienced last year continued into January as well: Virtually all goods on the store shelves cost more than they did a year ago, with the only exception being imported cucumbers, which were cheaper by nine cents. Sugar saw the biggest price jump in a year, and now costs more than twice as much as in January 2022, flour, milk, eggs and minced meat also cost considerably more.

Latest data from the Estonian Institute of Economic Research (Konjunktuuriinstituut), who monitor food prices on a monthly basis shows the rapid price rally that characterized the past year has continued into January this year.

Sugar continues to be the leader in here: In January 2022, it cost €0.65 per kg, but now it costs €1.33 per kg. The price of sugar did not change in the last month.

One kilo of wheat flour cost €0.81 at the beginning of last year, while during the year the price rose to €1.37; it also rose in the past month, becoming four cents costlier. The price of bread and pastry followed suit, with a price increase of almost 50 percent in the latter case. The price of these goods rose by several cents even in January. Over the year, the price of a kilo of oatmeal also increased by almost half.

The price of meat rose significantly during the past year. The largest increase in price occurred with imported broiler chicken, which cost 59 percent more than in the first month of last year, though local produce was also nearly 40 percent costlier in stores.

The price of a kilo of boneless beef jumped from €11.77 to €16.92 in a year, and domestic minced meat also became more expensive by over 41 percent.

Wieners, pork chops and boiled sausage also cost considerably more, but boneless pork rose the least in the entire meat category – its price is almost 13 percent higher than in January 2022.

Looking at the price changes on month, from December 2022 to January 2023, it is evident that some prices have fallen, but as a rule, this decline remains at a few percent. For example, pork chops are slightly cheaper than they were in December, while a kilo of wiener tens of cents cheaper is now available.

Fish has also not escaped inflationary pressures, although their price went through major fluctuations in both directions last year. In January, a refrigerated salmon fillet cost more than a fifth more than it did a year ago, while plaice cost 46 percent more.

Dairy products have played an important role in the overall price rally throughout the year. January's data does not demonstrated a slowdown in price growth; on the contrary: 2.5 percent skimmed milk currently costs 44 percent more than it did a year ago, while kefir is 36 percent more expensive, and coffee cream is 48 percent more expensive.

On month between December and January, the price of milk has remained constant, while the price of kefir has risen by three cents.

However, sour cream has become pricier. Whereas last year 20 percent sour cream cost €2.31 per kg, now it costs €3.65 per kg. In January, the kilo price of sour cream rose by 18 cents compared with December 2022.

Butter costs 37 percent more than it did a year ago, while the price of a kilo of Estonian cheese has risen by the same amount.

The price tags on the egg counters are also quite different from last January, while the price of size-M imported eggs has risen the most - by almost 53 percent; while at the beginning of last year you could buy a box of 10 eggs for €1.42, it now costs €2.17. Local eggs are also more expensive than before, as their price has increased by 35-46 percent, depending on the size.

However, on month, the local eggs have become a little cheaper, while an imported carton of eggs came to cost a few cents more than it did in December.

The potatoes and vegetables category contains the only product whose price decreased year-on-year, namely for imported (long) cucumbers. However, even here the price drop was not significant - from €2.55 per kg in January 2022 to €2.46 this month.

The price of potatoes, cabbage, carrots and other types of cucumbers rose, while the biggest price increase came with onions - nearly 47 percent, or from €0.58 to €0.85, while cabbage also cost nearly 39 percent more than a year ago.

Apples also became more expensive: Imported apples by more than 11 percent; domestic apples by nearly 23 percent. At the same time, compared with December, the price of the latter fell, from €3.78 in December to €3.55 in January.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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