Maltese shoppers pay more for flour and dish soap but less for coffee and ham than some of their European counterparts, a new study has found.
Desk research carried out by the firm Marketing Advisory Services compared the price of groceries in mid-range supermarkets across 17 different countries, scaling the differences in price for the same items.
The study compared the prices of 21 items, namely, milk, eggs, spaghetti, bananas, sugar, potatoes, flour, toothpaste, dish soap, Coca-Cola, coffee, toilet paper, white bread, chicken breast, water, Emmental cheese, smoked ham, butter, rice, minced beef and Nesquick cereal.
Comparatively, research suggested that Malta is the fifth cheapest place among the countries surveyed to purchase these items, where the bill would total €53.41.
The most expensive country to purchase these items would be Switzerland where the bill would come to €95.98, while the cheapest would be in Spain, where they can be purchased for €44.27.
The study also charted how much a person on an average net salary range spends roughly on groceries monthly.
The study estimated that people in Malta, with an average monthly net salary of just over €1,100, spend €271.25 on groceries every month.
Among the countries ranked, Malta placed ninth out of the 17 countries sampled for the study. These countries were Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The most expensive food bill was recorded in Switzerland, where people were estimated to pay some €663.50 for groceries a month on an average salary of roughly €6,000.
Meanwhile, the cheapest shop was most likely to be made in Portugal, where a full trolley is estimated to set a person back by an average of €209.25 per month, on an average salary of €1,100.
The study said that the comparative countries were selected for having a similar culture and lifestyle to Malta as well as shopping and consumption habits. Additionally, prices for goods were sourced from comparable mid-tier or mid-ranged supermarkets and were recorded during December 2023.
The research did not consider country-specific factors that may influence item pricing such as taxes and importation fees, but instead compared the net costs of these items across the chosen countries.
“One conclusion that may be drawn following the results of this study is that while the costs of various essential grocery items in Malta fall within the mid-range compared to other countries, Malta’s average monthly net salary appears comparatively low, especially when viewed in relation to individual monthly expenditures on grocery shopping,” the study said.
Meanwhile, the National Statistics Office said yesterday that inflation in Malta was 3.7 per cent in December, down from 3.9 per cent in November, but still above the EU and eurozone average because of upward pressure from food prices, official statistics show.
The National Statistics Office said the highest annual inflation rates in December 2023 were recorded in food and non-alcoholic beverages (9.5 per cent).
It explained that the largest upward impact on annual inflation was registered in the Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages Index (+1.69 percentage points), largely due to higher prices of vegetables.