There has been lot of talk lately about the lowered minimum wages in Greece, especially when compared to countries like Bulgaria or Estonia. KTG has often said, that it is not fair to compare just the wages. One has also to compare the cost of living. With minimum wages now below €500, one gets the impression we have Balkan wages but Northern European prices.
Everyone who has lived abroad and here, gets formally stunned when visiting a Greek super market. Products of multinational companies are sold here in double prices. A Greek consumer pays at least 2.50 euros more for a shampoo of the X-brand, 2 euros more for a tube of toothpaste. Recently, I was shocked myself to have to pay 8.90 euro for a brand-name hair spray. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive one. Average quality and size for a … strong hold. Detergents are another point of high prices. I’ve seen brand-name powder for washing machine been sold at 29 euro (70 measures). Not to mention the 500-ml bottles of green jelly to wash dishes: 1.45 euro until last week. Now its price is up to €1.52. And By the way: this same bottle size of the same company was sold for 1.02 euro during a promotion week.
A recent survey conducted by the Greek Ministry for Development showed that multi international companies sell their goods in Greece at a very large profit. Toiletries are sold at 96.5% higher than other EU countries, detergents at 44.2%, soft drinks at 51.3% and cereals at 46.96%. The survey was conducted in super markets of Greece, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy and the Untied Kingdom.
According to daily ETHNOS, the Greek subsidiaries of the multinational companies with various tricks they seem to present virtual damages and ‘iflated’ prices. In such way they avoid taxation in Greece and they transfer their profits in the parent companies.
Additional factors to the high prices for the consumers are the high Value Added Tax at 23% and the high transportation costs due to the closed profession of truck owners.
Another issue that came up with the Potato Movement are the high prices for fresh agricultural products. According to the Ministry, carrots, for example, are sold by the farmers to the large retailers at 0.33 euro per kilo, but they reach consumers at the open markets or grocer’s at the price of one euro. The Ministry finds difference of even 169% between the field price and the end price. However, ministry officials estimate that vegetable and fruits price went down recently due to income decreases that have influenced consumers’ behaviour.
However, here we have to mention the influence of the Potato Movement, when farmers from Nevrokopi decided to undercut the large retailers and sell their potatoes directly to consumers. The whole distribution is done by volunteers and now also in cooperation with municipalities. An action that has forced some local super markets to drop potatoes prices.
A farmer from Nevrokopi told private Mega TV oon Monday, that retailers buy their potatoes for 0.15 euro per kilo, while the production cost is 0.25 euro per kilo. He said that they sell now at 0.25 euro. The farmer also stressed that since the movement started, large retailers are threaten them, that they won’t buy form them anymore.
The winner from this action is the consumer. The potato movement is growing like a wild fire, and consumers can buy ten or twenty kilo packages for an average price of 0.33 euro.
And yet. What are the labyrinth ways an agricultural product has to go through to reach the consumer? Is all profit for large retailers? I think a report on the issue could …enlighten us 🙂
PS The super market at my neighborhood was selling last Saturday potatoes imported from Cyprus for 0.95 euro/kilo in a 2,5-kilo net. The alternative were Greek potatoes from I-don’t-remember-where at 0.30 euro. However they looked old and were full of holes….