Alcohol prices 67% above EU average


IRISH CONSUMERS pay almost 30 per cent above the European Union average for food and non-alcoholic drinks, coming second behind Denmark.

A new Eurostat survey of prices shows consumers here pay almost the highest prices for bread and cereals than in most other European states, spending 32 per cent more than the average.

The study shows Denmark in first place, with prices at 40 per cent above average. It looks not only at the 27 EU member states but also at 10 other non-EU countries.

Drink prices in the 37 countries are compared. Alcohol prices here are 67 per cent above average, second behind Finland. There, the highest price levels for alcoholic beverages register at 170 per cent of the EU average. Ireland is at 167 per cent and Sweden is at 138 per cent. The lowest prices for alcohol are in Romania, at 70 per cent of the EU average.

The survey says Ireland has the highest dairy prices in the EU along with Cyprus, at 37 per cent more expensive than the average.

For meat, four other EU states have higher prices than Ireland, where it is 20 per cent dearer than average.

Ireland has also the highest tobacco prices in the EU, almost more than twice the average.

The UK has prices 3 per cent below average overall. Bread in Britain is 16 per cent cheaper than the EU average and dairy produce 5 per cent cheaper. Meat, however, is 2 per cent dearer.

In 2009, the price level of a comparable basket of food and non-alcoholic beverages was more than twice as high in the most expensive EU member state than in the cheapest one.

As well as Ireland, Finland, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium, Germany and France are 10-30 per cent above the EU average.

Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Sweden are up to 10 per cent above the average, while the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Malta and Portugal are up to 10 per cent below.

For bread and cereals, price levels range from 52 per cent of the EU average in Bulgaria and 58 per cent in Poland to 146 per cent in Denmark and 132 per cent in Ireland.

For meat products, the cost ranges from 56 per cent in Poland and 58 per cent in Romania; for milk, cheese and eggs, prices range from 63 per cent in Poland and 77 per cent in Lithuania to 137 per cent in Ireland and Cyprus.

Ireland had the highest tobacco prices at 217 per cent of the EU average.

Irish Farmers Association president John Bryan said the findings confirmed that the food supply chain in Ireland was broken. “For example, in the UK, food prices are below the EU average, yet UK farmers are getting a higher price than farmers here,” he added.