Pita bread, pork chunks, tomato, onions, parsley, french fries and sauce. This is the traditional souvlaki, Greeks’ top junk food. Now Greek are shocked to hear the price for favorite quick and cheap meal is going to climb to 3 euros from 2.20 currently as of May 1, 2019. The increase has triggered a war with consumers in Athens to preparing a protest on April 30.
Reason for the upcoming price increase is …China! And a disease that has infected millions pigs that had to be slaughtered following orders by the World Health Organization. Now China is forced to import pork meat from Europe in order to meet its needs and lead prices of pork to skyrocket on international markets.
President of the butchers at Athens main meat market Varvakeios, Kleanthis Tsironis estimates that the souvlaki increase will run for a year that is the time period China will need to take measures to protect its own pigs.
Tsironis explained that “70% of the meat we eat in the souvlaki is imported, with the rate to increase up to 90% for beef.”
The price increase has been more or less confirmed by the Ministry of Economy and Development. “No reliable conclusions can be drawn as to whether the rising trend in international pork prices is shifting to consumer prices,” the Ministry said in a statement adding “retail prices do not show much correlation.”
The Ministry notes, that “international pork prices have risen significantly worldwide as a result of a virus that decimates China’s pig industry, according to data from the Center for Trade and Consumer Protection of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development, however, as highlighted by retail prices do not show a high degree of correlation.”
Meat processors around the world are selling more pork in China to cover the deficiencies caused by the outbreak of African swine fever. The consequence is the increased import from the US and Europe, which drive prices high. The trend is likely to continue as disease spreads rapidly across China, the world’s largest producer and consumer.
It’s not only China is struggling with the spread of the disease. In Europe, there are fears that the virus, which has been detected in wild boar in Belgium last year, could infect domestic pigs in major exporters countries such as France and Germany.
Souvlaki sellers are on alert complaining that they will have to roll the meat increase to consumers, unless the government lowers the taxes.
Some sector professionals have spoken of an upcoming increase in the range of 10%-15% and other of 30%.
“Soon the souvlaki will skyrocket to 5 euros,” an Athenian told private ANT1 TV on Saturday.
The man is not the only one who is concerned about the price of the national quick meal.
Other Athenians have called for a protest rally scheduled to take place on April 30.
“We have tolerated everything, but a price increase to Souvlaki? That’s a clear No!” angry and hungry Athenians posted on Facebook announcing the protest event. Even if it more likely started as a gag, the event is spreading like wildfire and is gaining more and more supporter. More than 14,000 had declared to joint the event, while another 39,000 have expressed interest.
Among the proposals posted in the comments section is also the one to boycott pork meat for two weeks, in order to put pressure on suppliers and sellers.
“Today the souvlaki, tomorrow probably the coffee, the beer, the chocolate and the bougatsa !!!! They target all the sacred gastronomic delights and hit the emperor of our food, the pita-gyros” somebody commented.
Souvlaki with pork gyros is expected to be sold between €2.50-€3, and pork kalamaki, plain meat with a piece a slice of bread at €1.70-€2.
If you want to join the “Protest Rally against the Souvlaki price increase,” click here.
PS I heard the French Revolution started because of the price increase in the baguette. Don;t tell me the Greek Revolution will start due to the Souvlaki…