After farmers and, to some extent, food producers initiated price cuts, consumers eventually witnessed a decline in the prices of numerous supermarket food items. The retail chains pledged to continue passing on the reduced supplier prices. Additionally, a decrease in the willingness of Czech consumers to spend, coupled with price pressure when importing goods from abroad, particularly from Poland, played a significant role in this trend.
“In August, the most substantial reductions in promotional prices were observed in oils, butters, and milk. Prices were also lower for items like zucchini, snakehead cucumbers, chicken, and turkey. Various types of cheese and other dairy products were also available at lower prices,” reported Zlata Vašíčková from Kupi.cz in an interview with Právo.
“For specific items, like Pilos butter at Lidl, Barilla pasta at Billa, and Pilos milk again at Lidl, prices were half of what they were last year,” she added. For instance, a liter of long-life milk that was sold for CZK 19.90 a year ago now costs CZK 10.90. Chicken cutlets have dropped from CZK 168 to CZK 129 per kilo. Most of the mentioned promotional prices decreased by approximately 20 percent.
Savings on the Rise Following last year’s record-breaking 20 percent inflation in food prices, this year has seen moderation due to declining input costs and decreased consumer demand. People have started saving more and seeking discounts due to the decrease in real prices. This phenomenon is also affecting other European countries, including neighboring Germany.
However, there is still no reason to celebrate, as there is little evidence of discounts in bakery product or pork shares, areas where experts anticipate stability or slight price increases.
Some Items Are Getting Pricier Statistics reveal that certain items like potatoes, apples, and bottled beer have become more expensive year-on-year.
On average, the decline is relatively minor. According to an analysis by the trade magazine Goods and Sales, the price of fresh food in the consumer basket dropped by about three percent in August compared to June and July. Overall, the value of the consumer basket, encompassing drugstore items and other goods, increased across the ten surveyed chains. Nevertheless, variations exist between stores. For instance, Alberto experienced a four percent decrease in the price of the consumer basket, while Globus witnessed a four percent increase.
“We can’t provide specific comments on future prices due to regulations, to avoid sending market signals through the media,” explained Alberto spokesman Jiří Mareček. He emphasized that disclosing price changes for particular items is prohibited and subject to penalties by the antitrust authority.
“However, there is fierce competition in the market; practically no one can afford to be more expensive. We negotiate with suppliers to lower prices and pass those savings on to end consumers,” Mareček added.
Renata Maierl, a spokesperson for Kaufland, stated that hundreds of products have become more affordable in recent weeks. “When the cost of raw materials decreases, we continuously reduce product prices,” she noted. For instance, last week they offered butter for CZK 29.90 and sunflower oil for CZK 39.90.
“Stores will become cheaper as our suppliers lower their prices. In sectors where there is competition from various Czech and foreign suppliers, prices have gradually been declining for several months,” explained Tomáš Prouza, president of the Confederation of Commerce and Tourism of the Czech Republic.
Import Pressure from Poland According to the head of the Food Chamber, dairy products are a prime example of food prices falling. However, expectations of further price reductions are diminishing. “It’s also important to note that the cost of raw materials is just one element of food production expenses, and many other costs, such as fuel, packaging, and waste, remain unchanged or even increase,” Večere concluded.
Experts also point out that factors like import pressure, especially from Poland, are influencing discounts and promotions on food items in stores. Seasonality also plays a role, as consumers allocate their spending towards other areas, such as school supplies, during certain times of the year.