STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE rise in price of basic foodstuffs in the Balearics has spread from essentials such as milk, meat and bread to other shopping trolley necessities such as dairy products, fruit and vegetables, in spite of Spanish government claims that the cost of supermarket shopping “in general” has remained “stable.” According to a report released yesterday by the central government ministry for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, tomatoes, eggs, oranges, lemons and chicken were the fresh foods which went up by the highest margin in October this year. Items which actually fell in price were green beans, onions, anchovies and apples.

Over the past year, says the study, onions have been the fresh food item which has most increased in cost to the consumer - by some 22 percent; fresh chicken follows behind having gone up in price by 18.31 percent this last year; sardines (14.7%); and eggs (10.38%). In the category of pre-packed food, sterilised milk was the product which has seen the highest pro rata rise over the past 12 months at 18.30 percent, followed by sunflower oil (16.41%).

According to the Consumer Price Index regulated by the National Institute of Statistics, year-on-year inflation stood at 3.6 percent in October this year. This figure, however, pales into insignificance when compared with the ministry report detailing the way the cost of basic foodstuffs has gone up. Last month, onions were 22 percent more than they were at the same time in 2006, while milk and chicken rose in price by 18.3 percent due to cereal prices which have peaked in recent months.

Refined sunflower oil has become 16.41 percent more expensive as have other cereal-derived products including spaghetti (8.46%); wheat flour (8.34%); bread (5.56%). The only product which has become significantly cheaper is olive oil which has witnessed a downturn in price of -18.77 percent. l Dearer cereal crop harvests have been responsible for triggering food price rises.
Minister Joan Clos was keen to emphasise yesterday that the cost for individual households at the supermarket checkout has remained “more or less stable,” especially with regard to pre-packed products.

In October this year, the price of salad tomatoes rose by 6.13 percent while eggs increased by 6.13 percent in cost, oranges (3.53%), lemons (3.39%) and fresh chicken (3.25%). Some items reduced in price such as green beans (-7.37%); onions (-4.29%); anchovies (-3.96%) and apples (-3.08%).

The Ministry for Industry figures highlighted that year-on-year price increases were most notable in price of onions, fresh chicken, sardines and eggs and that downturns in price were particularly significant in farm-reared lamb.

Over the past 12 months, the price of onions has risen by 22 percent, while that of milk and fresh chicken has increased by 18.3 percent largely due to the higher global cost of harvesting cereal crops .

On the list of fresh products that consumers would purchase regularly from markets and supermarkets, the year-on-year cost of sardines rose most notably by 14.7 percent, eggs (10.38%), oranges (9.39%); and pears (9.29%).

Not to be forgotten were products that had actually fallen in price and the most significant of these over the last twelve months were lamb (-6.61%) and rabbit (-5.98%), both high on the shopping lists of Spanish households.

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