September in grocery stores: Price rises continue but pace slowing

Tomatoes.
Tomatoes. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

While during the first half of the year, food prices in Estonian grocery stores rose rapidly, in September, the rate at which they increased slowed down. Imported tomatoes and onions have seen the largest increases on year.

Sugar prices, which have been soaring this year, rose by 26 percent in September. This means that while a kilo of sugar cost an average of €1.17 in stores last year, it now costs €1.47, according to data provided by the Estonian Institute of Economic Research.

Despite the continued rise, the rate at which sugar prices went up in September was more modest than in previous months. This August, sugar prices were 53 percent higher during the same month in 2022, and in July, they were up 71 percent on year.

In May, 1 kg of wheat flour cost €1.40, but has now fallen back to €1.28, exactly the same price as a year ago. White bread and dark (rye) bread, on the other hand, are currently 22 and 18 percent more expensive than last year, respectively. The former is now priced at €2.87 per kilo, with a kilo of the latter costing €2.85.

Last month, the price of white bread fell by five cents a kilo. The price of dark (rye) bread, however, rose up by two cents.

The price of oatmeal has also risen on year, from €2.18 per kilo in September 2022 to €2.36 in September 2023. Oatmeal prices did fall by one cent per kilo between August, and September however.

Among meat products, the biggest increase affected boneless beef prices, which were up by nearly 17 percent. Cooked sausages and pork ribs were up by 15 percent, while minced meat rose 14 percent. The cost of pork chops, locally-produced chicken broiler and wiener sausages also rose by between 10 and 12 percent.

Smoked pork chops cost less in September than at any other time so far this the year, and were two cents cheaper per kilo than in September 2022.

No meat products have become cheaper over the last year. However, the situation was different when analyzed by month, with pork ribs down 31 cents a kilo between August and September, and locally-produced chicken broiler also falling 14 cents per kilo over the same period. Smoked pork and wiener sausage prices were also slightly cheaper in September than August, while boneless beef and pork chops were up on month.

Fish prices tend to be more volatile than those of other foodstuffs. In September, the biggest increase affected herring fillet, which was priced at €6.5 per kilo, compared to €5.18 last year. The price also increased by 75 cents a kilo on month.

Chilled perch was 19 percent more expensive, rising from €9.72 per kilo last September, to €11.58 this year. Perch prices rose by €1.7 per kilo between August and September. Meanwhile, the price of chilled herring was up 18 percent on year.

Chilled salmon, was subject to a price increase of almost 10 percent this September, and cost an average of €11.46 a kilo in Estonian supermarkets. However, most types of fish had become cheaper on year. Chilled trout was down from €11.37 a kilo in September last year to €9.85 per kilo this September. Chilled salmon was also 10 percent cheaper this September than during the same month in 2022. Chilled salmon fillets and perch also went down in price on year.

Dairy product prices are still rising, though at a slower pace than before. The cost of a carton of milk has risen by five percent on year, from an average of 77 cents to 81 cents. The biggest rises among dairy products affected coffee cream, which was  up nearly 14 percent on year, and cottage cheese, which rose by 11 percent.

Skimmed milk also increased in price by 13 percent on year. Other dairy products were up in price, though the increase was less than ten percent. Kefir however, was a few cents cheaper on year.

Compared to August, milk, sour cream and butter prices were all slightly lower in September. The biggest drop on month was the price of bagged milk, which was down by three cents.

Egg prices also rose, but not as sharply as they had done in some other months earlier this year. Imported M-sized eggs rose the most and were up 15 percent on  year. Prices for locally-produced eggs of the same size increased by 14 percent.

The price of a box of eggs increased by another few cents between August and September, with the exception of M-sized imported eggs, which fell by five cents.

When it comes to vegetables, the biggest increase on year affected imported tomatoes, which cost 77 percent more per kilo in September 2023 than in September 2022.

This September, 1 kg of imported tomatoes cost €2.92, whereas last year the price was €1.65 per kilo. Imported tomatoes rose a whopping 20 cents per kilo on month to September 2023 alone.

Local tomatoes remained at €4.03 per kilo this September, the same prices as a year previously.

Onions were also far more expensive in stores than a year before, with an increases of 71 percent from an average of 76 cents a kilo last September to €1.30 a kilo this year. However, onion prices have not risen since August.

Imported apples and carrots were both more expensive in September than they had been August, costing 16 cents and 15 cents a kilo more, respectively.

However, some vegetables did fall in price on year. Cabbage was down to 67 cents a kilogram, from 71 cents a year ago, while locally-produced cucumbers also fell from €3.12 a kilo in September 2022 to €2.86 per kilo this September.

On month, a number of different types of vegetables came down in price. The biggest was the price of loose potatoes, which was down by almost a fifth.

Carrots were ten percent cheaper than six months, while locally-produced cucumbers and tomatoes have also fallen in price.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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