With many food companies and supermarkets sticking to high prices until the country’s crushing economic crisis and recession cut deeply into sales, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTA) said that trend has started to reverse with the prices of many goods falling.
Supermarkets have been engaging in price cuts and two-for-one sales for some time and now manufacturers of foods are falling suit. Some 20 percent of Greeks had stopped buying bread in the last five years even as rices rose 6.76 percent. Expectations that liberalizing some markets would lower prices as much as 30 percent didn’t come to pass.
Manufacturers said they couldn’t lower their prices because of higher costs of electricity, oil and flour, and doubled property taxes. Disappearing customers have made them adjust nonetheless.
ELSTAT found that the prices of basic food items in small to midsized shops rose 6.3 percent between 2008 and 2013, with prices of imported goods growing even more. The price of sugar was up 21.5 percent, eggs 19.0 percent, rice 13.9 percent and chocolate 10.9 percent. But now it said food prices as whole fell in the first quarter of the year.
Harsh austerity measures that included deep pay cuts, tax hikes, and slashed pensions helped put 1.4 million people out of work and cut disposable income more than 46 percent, leading Greeks to change their spending patterns and cut back severely in some areas, including food.