Food prices shoot up ahead of Christmas

The price of many foods has increased seven times more than the inflation rate ahead of the Christmas season according to state statistics agency INE.

INE tracks the price of 38 basic foodstuffs, and reports that 33 of them have seen prices increasing 1,7% during November alone. But it’s part of a tendency for 2015 that has policy makers worried.

Olive oil costs 28,3% more this year than in 2014. Potatoes have increased 13% and pasta 5,4%.

The price of traditional food always increases around Christmas, leading consumer organisations to decry profit gouging. Shellfish prices usually go up by at least 10% ahead of the festive season.

Markets say that supply and demand is the reason, and that any profits stay with the supermarkets rather than the producers.

A report this week from local farmers union COAG claims the price of a tomato increases 500% from the field to the consumer.

A kilo of salad tomatoes earned a local farmer €0,37 this week, whilst the same kilo in a shop cost €2,23.

Economists say that Spain needs more competition in its foodstuff market to force prices down.

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