Belgian supermarkets are increasingly more expensive than those in neighbouring countries according to Prijzenobservatorium’s research. Shoppers in France, Germany and the Netherlands quickly pay 10 % less.
The Prijzenobservatorium (Price Observatory) analyzed prices of 65,000 identical products across the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France and concluded that the Belgian supermarkets are more expensive. On average, prices are 9.1 % lower in France, 12.9 % in the Netherlands and 13.4 % in Germany.
There are multiple reasons for those differences: Belgian taxes are higher on average, like the duties on liquor. A smaller number of inhabitants also result in smaller scale advantages for supermarkets and therefore higher prices.
No price war
Colruyt’s positioning also encourages higher prices. It may always guarantee the lowest price, but it also taps into the competition and therefore does not set the price. “Because market leader Colruyt is run so efficiently, no one will start a price war and you see prices slowly creeping upward”, retail expert Gino Van Ossel told Radio 1.
The Prijzenobservatorium’s results also have to be viewed in context. Seeing how it only compared identical items, it did not take into account the private labels or fresh fruit and vegetables, which Eurostat says are cheaper in Belgium.