The essential products that are getting more expensive in Austria

Record inflation spikes have caused basic supermarket products to become more expensive in the alpine country.

The essential products that are getting more expensive in Austria
Prices are rising in Austrian supermarkets (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Austria has been suffering from the high cost of living prices, and inflation for April is expected to reach 7.2 percent, according to a preliminary estimate by Statistik Austria.

Compared to the previous month, the price level is expected to rise by 0.3 percent, the federal statistics office said.

“Life in Austria continues to become noticeably more expensive. In addition to the continuing inflation-determining price increases for fuels and energy products, food also has an additional price-increasing effect,” said Statistik Austria Director-General Tobias Thomas.

READ ALSO: Austria unveils €2 billion relief package to fight the rising cost of living

The increases are very much reflected in supermarket prices.

According to Statistik Austria, oils and fats have had the highest price increases (13.3 per cent in a year on year comparison), followed by vegetable prices (9 per cent in a year on year comparison).

Bread and cereal prices were up by 7.2 per cent, and milk, cheese and eggs prices rose by 5.5 per cent.

Fruits have also been costing 4.7 per cent more in March 2022 than in March 2021. In addition, meat, which is already an expensive product for Austrians, has increased in price by 4.1 per cent.

There were also substantial price increases for non-alcoholic beverages, particularly coffee, which rose 12.3 per cent.

Why is inflation so high?

Prices are rising worldwide, not just in Austria. And much of it has to do with the Russian war on Ukraine, which brings up fuel prices and affects the entire supply chain of several products on supermarket shelves.

However, that is not the only factor.

READ ALSO: Will inflation force tax changes in Austria from 2023?

A special IHS Markit report on food inflation stated that the Russian invasion is just the most recent event exacerbating food inflation, especially as both countries are significant exporters of grains and vegetable oils.

Another factor for rising prices is competition with Chinese demand for feedstuffs such as soybeans, corn, sorghum, wheat and other grains.

Production and logistics issues have also impacted prices globally. For example, adverse weather in Brazil affected the production of corn, soybean, and even coffee.

In addition, transportation issues and even Covid-related labour shortages have also hindered production and logistics and increased prices.

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Bread, butter and veggies: The items getting more expensive in Austria

The purchase price of flour has risen by around 70 percent, which means the cost of bread, cakes and pastries in Austria are set to rise, alongside steep increases for fresh and canned vegetables. Here's what you need to know.

Bread, butter and veggies: The items getting more expensive in Austria

The war in Ukraine and a ban on the export of wheat in India is driving up the cost of wheat flour around the world, with bakers in Austria warning they have no choice but to raise prices.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, there is also a paper shortage for packaging that is used for most baked goods, adding to further pressure on bakers.

Reinhard Honeder, Chairman of Bakers for the Chamber of Commerce, told ORF: “I believe that every colleague must raise their prices if they have not already done so.”

READ ALSO: The essential products that are getting more expensive in Austria

However, the rising cost of wheat flour is not expected to hit Austria as hard as other countries because Austria is “self-sufficient” when it comes to wheat, due to domestic agriculture capabilities.

Honeder says Austria has enough wheat to feed the population and believes this should stop baked goods from becoming unaffordable. 

In Upper Austria, there are around 288,000 hectares of arable land and wheat is currently grown on almost 46,000 hectares, according to Agrarmarkt Austria.

However, global wheat production is forecast to be 774.8 million tonnes for 2022/2023, which is 4.5 million tonnes less than in 2021/2022.

Farmers are also being hit with rising costs for fertiliser and machinery, leading to ongoing increases in the global price of grain.

FOR MEMBERS: Cost of living: 45 ways to save money in Austria

The cost of groceries (Lebensmittel) also on the rise in Austria

Bread isn’t the only staple food product that is becoming more expensive in Austria.

Der Standard reports that the cost of a bell pepper (Paprika), butter and tinned tomatoes are also rising sharply. 

When comparing prices from April 2021 and May 2022, one red pepper (from Austria) is up by 67 percent to €1.49, a 250g pack of Clever butter is 79 percent more at €2.49, and a can of Clever chopped tomatoes costs 20 percent more at €0.47. 

Inflation has been rising in Austria for the past year and hit 7.2 percent in April – the highest rate in Austria since October 1981 when the Gulf War led to an increase in oil prices.

The cost of food is a big driver in the rise in inflation with the average weekly shopping basket costing 14 percent more than last year, according to Statistics Austria.