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January in grocery stores: Dairy product prices drop slows down

Dairy products in a store in Estonia.
Dairy products in a store in Estonia. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Dairy products cost a little less in January than a year ago, but compared to December 2023, their prices have started to move upwards again. Several vegetables, eggs and meat products also rose.

Estonian grocery store prices grew fast last year, and while the Estonian Institute of Economic Research's survey shows no sharp increases, January figures show that prices are still gradually rising. Prices will also be affected by this year's higher VAT rate.

Dairy products are the only group of goods where all prices have fallen over the year.

Compared to the beginning of 2023, the biggest drop in price was for milk, especially milk in cartons, which cost 84 cents a year ago and now costs 72 cents, a drop of more than 14 percent.

The price of kefir and sour cream also fell by nearly 9 percent, meaning that a carton of kefir cost 91 cents a year ago and now costs 83 cents, while the price of a liter of sour cream fell from €3.65 a year ago to €3.31.

However, a comparison of prices in January with December last year shows that the downward trend has come to an end and prices have started to rise again, for example, the price of a liter of milk rose by two cents and that of a liter of kefir by three cents in one month.

Sour cream also cost seven cents more than a month earlier, and cottage cheese added eight cents. The only item in this category that was cheaper was coffee cream, but the drop was almost imperceptible – one cent.

Egg prices have risen both monthly and year-on-year.

A carton of ten M-size local eggs cost €2.26 last year and €2.70 in January. Prices rose over a fifth for this egg, the year's highest gainer. L-size eggs jumped 11 percent last year, adding a few cents last month.

The rise in the price of imported eggs has been almost imperceptible – a year ago the average carton of imported eggs cost €2.32 and now it is €2.33.

In cereals and bakery products, the price of flour has fallen from €1.37 per kilogram in the first month of last year to €1.26, or 8 percent less. The price of a kilo of flour has also fallen by two cents in the last month.

At the same time, the price of bread increased. Rye bread saw a larger annual increase of almost 8 percent, while white bread rose by 5 percent. Over the past month, rye bread rose by a further 0.7 percent and white bread by 1.4 percent.

The price of oatmeal has been more stable compared to other products, costing four cents a kilo more than a year ago, but in the last month it has dropped five cents, so the fluctuation has not exceeded a few percent.

The sharp rise in sugar prices is also a thing of the past. The average price of a kilo of sugar in shops in January was €1.36, compared to €1.33 a year ago and €1.41 in December last year.

Meat prices are higher year-on-year, with imported broilers leading the way, costing 18 percent more in January than at the start of last year – €3.91. The price of domestic broiler meat rose much less, by three percent.

The price of home minced meat is also up by 9 percent, from €7.49 last year to €8.13 in January. The price of minced meat also rose by seven cents after December.

In percentage terms, the price of a kilo of vodka has risen by the same amount as minced meat, from €6.76 last year to €7.34. However, compared to December, the price of vodka has gone up by 18 cents.

The price of pork chops per kilo has increased by over 9 percent in a year, but has fallen by a few cents since December last year.

The price of beef has risen by 5 percent over the year, and has continued to do so since December last year, when it was €17.49 per kilogram, rising to €17.72 in January.

The price of fish varies more from month to month than other commodities. For example, chilled trout fillets cost a fifth less in January than a year ago and 14 percent less than in the Christmas month last year. Chilled perch was also down 16 percent year-over-year and another 11 percent last month.

At the same time, however, the price of chilled salmon added 18 percent to the price on the supermarket shelves. A year ago, the price was €10.80 per kilo, while in January this year it was €12.72. However, compared to last December, the price was still down five percent.

Chilled salmon fillets rose by a quarter on the markets over the year, from €21.11 to €26.40. It also added 10 cents to its price after December.

Vegetables show both large increases and smaller decreases. Imported tomatoes and cucumbers rose the most, by 37 percent and 29 percent respectively over the year. The price of tuber onions also rose by more than a quarter over the year.

After December last year, the price of an onion wedge increased by a further six per cent, and an imported cucumber wedge received a 14 per cent premium, from €2.78 in December to €3.16 in January.

Local cucumbers also increased in price at the same time. In January 2023, the average price of a cucumber in the shop was 4.94 euros, compared to 5.57 euros in December last year and 6.29 euros in January this year. The price rose by 27 percent in a year and 13 percent in a month.

In percentage terms, the price of head cabbage has fallen sharply, by 33 percent, from 61 cents last January to 41 cents this January. The price of carrots was unchanged from last month, but fell by ten cents, or seven per cent, year-on-year.

Potato prices have remained fairly stable over the year.

However, apples have gone up in price. Imported apples cost an average of €1.74 a kilo a year ago, but by January this year the price had risen by a fifth to €2.11. In the space of a month, the price per kilo has risen by a few cents.

At the same time, the price of local apples has risen by 14 percent over the year and by a further 16 percent in the last month. Last year, the price of an Estonian apple was €3.55 per kilo, while in January it was €4.06.


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Editor: Karin Koppel, Kristina Kersa

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