2020 Olivier salad’s index: New Year table foods rise by at least 10% in price

The festive food basket has been record high — nearly by 10% — in Kazan supermarkets by New Year. Realnoe Vremya’s analytic service traditionally examined prices for foods and beverages in 11 chain stores of the capital. If we you want to save money, be ready to run.

Where is the most expensive food basket?

Not only prices have skyrocketed in the Tatarstan in 2020, but also the number of stores has reduced — Essen has left us. Prices for the traditional set of 38 products have increased by 9,8% on average in the rest of the shops. Karusel and Bakhetle are record-holders where the basket has become 22,2% and 20,8% respectively. While Perekryostok and Edelweiss have shown stability where the rise has been 0,7% and 1,1%.

The most expensive basket set is in Bakhetle (8,977 rubles), the cheapest one is in Edelweiss (7,135 rubles). However, one can save money here too. For instance, one can save 70 rubles if strong alcohol is bought in Metro and 175 rubles if you go to SPAR to buy minced meat for cutlets.

Accessible alcohol and expensive appetisers

The share of alcohol in general costs will be around 27%, from 1,900 to 2,460 rubles in different stores. It is a bit less than a year ago. While classical New Year appetisers — red caviar, Atlantic salmon — have notably increased in price as well as cucumbers with herbs.

For instance, a 140-gram tin of caviar will cost 71% more expensive than in 2019 — 598 rubles, in Bakhetle it has gone up in price by 86%, 982 rubles. Prices for cucumbers have augmented everywhere, but Verny has set a record — by 202% compared to last year. While grapes have risen among fruits the most — by 87,8% in Metro (430 against last year’s 229 rubles per kilogramme).

Record year

The price for the cheapest New Year basket in Kazan has risen by 19,6% in five years, while the most expensive one has by 16,6%. The basket’s price has increased by 11,7% and 10,4% since last year respectively. The New Year basket has become 18,4% more expensive on average in the last six years.

While the upsurge in the price for foods for the New Year table in 2020 has been record — by 8,96% against last year. It doubled 2016’s record when the average price tag of the basket rose by 4,3% compared to 2015. And this blow turned out to be shocking amid its fall by 0,56% in 2019.

Average price of New Year basket in 2015-2020, %

“A series of factors have coincided here — the difference in rates, a series of lockdowns, crises in the economy and sanctions”

“In most cases, prices for foods have increased because the rate has changed over the year, that’s to say, the dollar has become more expensive, consequently, not only feedstock but also components of prices for foods have increased in price, as equipment, necessary ingredients, additives that aren’t produced in the Russian Federation are purchased and are currency-dependent and influence the end price for the consumer,” thinks press secretary of the Gorbatov Federal Scientific Centre for Food Systems Dmitry Gordeyev. “As for fruits and vegetables, despite rapid growth of support of their manufacturers, there hasn’t been achieved complete import substitution in this issue. Their production isn’t enough to satisfy domestic demand. They have increased in price because of exports.”

The expert says the conditions of contracts that were signed by suppliers earlier explain the difference between the price and difference in dynamics of prices for products in different chain stores: “According to the contracts’ terms, somebody has turned out to have a more advantaged position, while somebody has had a less advantaged one”.

“But how can be a hike of 10% at once? A lot of problems existed during the previous years too, but there wasn’t such a sudden rise in price.”

“A series of factors have coincided here — the difference in rates, a series of lockdowns, crises in the economy and sanctions that Russia has been imposed since 2016,” Gordeyev noted.

At the same time, the newspaper’s interlocutor thinks that the problem of the rise in price for products can’t be solved by a will, strict regulation in the Soviet era ended up with the disappearance of commodities for shop shelves.

It is Federal Anti-Monopoly Service’s turn to reply

“I think the main reason why prices a growing is that bread is in very high demand now, while the ruble is cheap, that’s why wheat was exported,” says Vice Chairman of the Tatarstan State Council’s Committee for the Environment, Use of Natural Resources, Agro-Industrial and Food Policy Takhir Khadeyev says.

“And there was a domino effect — the main product pulled the rest, it is used not only in bread baking and production of confectionary but also is key in meat and milk production, since it is used for forage. Sugar is the second reason, sugar was overproduced last year, in 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture fixed it to level the market. Besides these two moments, the fact that we have to buy some imported products, machines, some goods we need in production played a role too,” Khadeyev thinks.

But Takhir Khadeyev doesn’t see a reason for a significant rise in price for products: “Electricity, oil and lubricants haven’t increased in price considerably. This is why we see every seller’s prices have changed in different ways. I think the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service should examine this issue and make conclusions. One can judge by the minimum food basket. People have begun earning less, while some are benefiting from this! The most important thing now is to save the buyer, provide a balance between the interests of the producer, seller and consumer, and we can’t hope that the market will regulate the situation: we don’t have such a market yet”.

Moreover, the parliamentarian thinks that market mechanisms are so far insufficiently used to influence prices:

“For instance, we have customs duties on grain and other goods. We have leverage, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t work, and it is a reason for State Council deputies to think. There is a sufficient number of public organisations that influence the situation, and they don’t have vacant positions — might they work!”

By Inna Serova