How the coronavirus pushes up food prices

How the coronavirus pushes up food prices
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Prices for vegetables, fruit and meat have risen sharply in the past month. There is not just one cause but a combination of factors - however, the corona crisis is the common thread.

 

Greater demand for fresh produce

Fruit, vegetables, cereals, meat and ice cream are now 10 % more expensive than they were a year ago, figures from Belgian statistical office Statbel say. These increases can partly be attributed to bad weather conditions, such as the drought in the spring, but there is more to it. "Belgian fruit and vegetables do not have this problem", Luc Vanoirbeek of the Association of Belgian Horticultural Auctions says in local newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. Imported products in particular became more expensive.

 

The corona crisis is indeed an important cause: for example, a lot of citrus fruit comes from Spain, but that country has been struggling with a very bad Covid-19 outbreak and harvesting and transport have become more difficult there. Moreover, products that are transported by plane usually use the cargo space in passenger aircraft, but now many flights have been cancelled and cargo places have therefore become much more expensive. Also, shrimp that usually are sent to Morocco for peeling, have suffered a decline in availability as strict corona measures in Morocco have led to the closing of peeling stations.

 

The fact that people have started cooking more for themselves since the lockdowns also plays a role: the demand for fresh products has increased, so the price is also rising. People also shop more quickly and pay less attention to prices, retail expert Gino Van Ossel thinks. As a result, supermarkets are less inclined to give price discounts - and market leader Colruyt therefore also has to respond less to promotions by competitors.