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Price hikes threaten Greeks’ beloved Easter lamb roasted on the spit

Greeks are puzzled about what to bring on the Easter table and turn the euro coin twice before they proceed with purchases. Tradition requires lamb or little goat preferably whole and nicely grilled over an open fire on a spit. A delicacy is also mouth-watering kokoretsi, dyed eggs, a plethora of salads, cheeses, pies and side dishes, mountains of cookies and sweet Easter bread tsoureki, chocolate bunnies, wine, beer and ouzo and whatever else comes to one’s mind.

 

Tradition wants also all family members, elderly and kids, many relatives and friends to gather as early as 11 o’ clock in the morning and spend the whole day around the table, eat, sing and enjoy until the early evening hours.

But this year, things are different due to the price hikes that have skyrocketed the price of a whole lamb of just 10 kg – bones included – to 150 euros.

There is no TV channel and print or online media not reporting about the expensive Easter table and quote Greeks complaining about the prices. According to some media, the traditional Easter table is estimated to be 20 to over 39 percent more expensive than in 2021.

Some reported that a family of 6 would need to spend 300 euros, bringing the cost at 50 euros per person.

Stable food is up by 77%, when compared to East last year, a research conducted by the Consumer Goods Research Institute (IELKA) has reportedly found.

In total, the average typical consumer’s basket of 2022 in large supermarket chains, not including lamb, is estimated at 45.35 euros, an increase of 9% compared to 2021 when it was 41.70 euros.

At the same time, the average price range (difference between lower and maximum price of a standard basket) within the examined categories remains high at 35%, indicating that consumers for another year have access to a wide range of alternatives (different varieties, qualities, private label products, utilization offers and discounts.)

big prices increases have been recorded in lettuce and in flour, followed by butter, mustard and pie crust

Regarding the lamb the final market price has not been set yet as breeders and traders are still bargaining on the first day of the Holy Week, on Monday.

According to market executives a combination of factors is pushing prices up with the average price for the consumer to be formed at 15-16 euros per kilo. .

Setting the final price depends on several factors such as the production (animal feed) and transport cost that recorded significant increase due to the war in Ukraine.

In the average throughout the country producers-breeders are seeking to cover the cost of raising animals and want to sell lamb 7.5-8.5 per kilo and 8.5-9.5 for goats. Traders are willing to give for both lamb and goat 8-8.5 euro per kilo and butchers want a price cap in wholesale and retail.

But at local markets breeders and traders have to make their own deals.

If the wholesale price is around 9 euros, how much can the end price for the consumer be? While the end price was up to 9.5/kilo in 2020, it went up to 13.5 in 2021 and is expected to be over 14 euros in 2022.

The president of the Hellenic Livestock Association (SEK), Christos Tsombanos, told daily TA NEA, that the increased price of lambs sold this year is due to the rapid increase in energy and animal feed, factors that have derailed the production costs.

On his part, the president of the Federation of Livestock Breeders of Thessaly, Giannis Guroubinos, said that the significant burdens that exist this year make it inevitable to sell their production to traders at much higher prices than last year, ranging between 7.5-8, 5 euros against 6.5-7.5 euros per kilo. Any lower price will lead to losses, he argued and estimated that the final price, at which the consumer will buy the lamb from the butcher, can be set at 12.5 euros. This is because the transport cost and the trader’s profit.

But the butcher want to have his profit too…

Another problem of the Greek Easter table is ..the Catholic Easter (April 17), a week earlier than the Greek Orthodox Easter that resulted into the massive export of young lamb up to 7 kilos that left for Italy, Spain and Portugal.

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