FACUA reveals that 52 per cent of food products with reduced VAT are more expensive than in January 2023

Image of food products in a supermarket trolley.

Image of food products in a supermarket trolley. Credit: Davizro Photography/Shutterstock.com

SINCE the Spanish government’s ruling on reduced VAT came into force, 52 per cent of these products are already more expensive than they were in January 2023.

This was the finding of the latest price monitoring study carried out in October by FACUA-Consumidores en Acción on almost 1,000 food products from eight large distribution chains in Spain.

Published by the consumer association this Monday, October 30, their report includes the evolution of 963 prices during October 2, 3, 10 and 11.

Which supermarkets were monitored?

FACUA monitored Alcampo, Aldi, Carrefour, Dia, Eroski, Lidl, Hipercor and Mercadona supermarkets and concluded that the percentage of increases has been increasing progressively since January.

While in the first month of the year it only detected increases of 6.7 per cent, in February, this rose to 17.4 per cent. In March it reached 30.8 per cent, in April 42.0 per cent, May was 43.8 per cent, June 44.7 per cent, July 47.0 per cent, August 48.4 per cent, September 48.9 per cent and finally, in October, the increase stood at 52.4 per cent.

Referring to the results of its study, FACUA pointed out that according to the royal decree law by which the measure was in force, none of the products with reduced VAT could increase in price unless there were increases in costs.

Which supermarket had the biggest number of price increases?

According to the study, FACUA revealed that the largest number of price increases in October had been detected in Hipercor.

A total of 109 out of 164 prices analysed had increased in price, equivalent to 66.4 per cent of the total. Carrefour followed, with 88 products more expensive than December 30 out of a sample of 147 prices, equal to 60 per cent of the total analysed.

Alcampo showed increases in 75 of the 131 prices analysed (57.2 per cent), while Aldi has increased 31 of the 57 foods monitored in this study (54.3 per cent).

Eroski had increased the prices of 68 prices of 135 foods (50.3 per cent) and Lidl, 30 of the 62 items checked (48.3 per cent).

The two chains with the lowest percentage of price increases recorded were Mercadona, with 54 products of the total of 136 included in the analysis (39.7 per cent) and Dia, with 50 increases among the 131 prices analysed (38.1 per cent).

Mercadona, Dia, Hipercor, Alcampo, Aldi and Eroski increased the total number of foods to become more expensive compared to September said Facua. Only Carrefour and Lidl showed a percentage of prices with increases that had been reduced in the last month.

In which products were the most increases detected?

Of the total of 505 prices with increases, 153 of them corresponded to fruits or vegetables (30.2 per cent of the total), 103 were olive oils (20.3 per cent) and 73 were milk and dairy products (14.4 per cent).

Another 72 price increases were found among rice and pasta (14.2 per cent) and 47 among legumes (9.3 per cent), while the remaining 57 increases corresponded to eggs, flour and bread.

In Mercadona, the price of a five-kilogram net of oranges increased from €5.05 at the beginning of the year to €8.75 in October, a jump of 73.3 per cent. In Lidl, the four-kilogram net of oranges had increased by 71 per cent from €3.99 to €6.89 said the association.

The product that rose the most in Hipercor among those analysed was the 3.5 kg Piel de Sapo melon. It went from €2.55 at the start of the year to €5.22 in September, representing an increase of 104.8 per cent.

Where were the increases in olive oil prices?

Moving on to olive oil, in Alcampo, a 5-litre bottle of Carbonell extra virgin increased by 121.5 per cent, from €25.72 to €56.99 since January.

A price increase of 89.4 per cent was observed in Aldi’s litre of Carbonell olive oil, which went from €5.43 to €10.29 euros.

In Dia, Coosur brand hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil rose from €7.63 in January to its current price of €11.99, which represents an increase of 57.2 per cent.

Eroski sold a litre of Hojiblanca Coosur olive oil at €14.50 in October, when in January its price was €5.69, a difference of 154.8 per cent in its price.

The five-litre bottle of Carbonell brand virgin olive oil in Carrefour is now 141.4 per cent more expensive than at the beginning of the year, going from €26 in January to the current €62.79.

What will FACUA do now?

After compiling the results of the monitoring, FACUA expanded the complaints that it had been presenting for months to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. It has apparently still not received a response from the government.

As FACUA explained, the body has sanctioning powers in the event of price increases that violate limitations established in the legislation.

To this end, the association has once again called on the authorities to open an investigation to determine which products have seen increases in profit margins.

It is something which they insist is: ‘Expressly prohibited in Article 72 of the royal decree law of December 2022 for which the tax reduction was approved’.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com