Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited a supermarket, accompanied by the Minister of Development, Kostas Skrekas, to check the prices of food and basic items available with the permanent price reduction label and to talk to customers who made their purchases.

In an insta story published by himself, he talks to a customer of the particular supermarket about the reduced prices on products, saying “we will increase 5%”.

In fact, the Prime Minister states: “I know that accuracy, especially in food, is persistent. But the government will always be here and will use all the tools at its disposal to limit the problem as much as possible.”

From Monday 11/13, checks in supermarkets for “permanent price reduction” tags will begin

From Monday, November 13, supermarket chains will come under the microscope of the Ministry of Development, with the relevant levels carrying out checks on whether the legislation on the labeling of the products participating in the “Permanent Price Reduction” initiative is being followed.

“The supermarkets have prioritized both the supply of the relevant equipment and the marking material as well as the training of the employees with the aim of successfully implementing the initiative of the Ministry of Development” points out the general manager of the Union of Supermarkets of Greece, speaking to the Athens News Agency. Apostolos Petalas.

At the same time, he expresses his satisfaction for the fact that there is a greater than expected participation of businesses in the measure of the permanent price reduction and is optimistic that the goal that the Ministry of Development had initially set for the 500 codes will be far surpassed. As he states, given that all companies participating in the initiative will have to send their written commitment by November 30, even greater participation from both Greek and multinational companies is expected in the next period.

Focusing on food inflation he notes that it will begin to ease in the coming months. He said that after a long period of continuous rise, prices have stabilized in recent months, which is also reflected in the indices if the comparison is made month by month. “The dense fog is behind us” noted Mr. Petalas.

According to him, it is also noteworthy that the companies in the sector are adapting to the new reality by making bold offers with eight out of ten products being on sale. After all, as he notes, consumers tend to chase the offers and not look enough at the final price.

Regarding speculation phenomena and to what extent they dynamit accuracy, Mr. Petalas emphasized that when a company raises prices, it sees its sales decline. And this is happening, as he said, in the last two years where consumption in volume is shrinking due to the limitation of disposable income. However, he did not fail to assure that the competition in supermarkets is working normally and he expressed his satisfaction about it.

Meanwhile, the codes participating in the price reduction initiative have exceeded the ministry’s initial expectations of 500 codes and by Friday there were 660 from 53 companies. Now, the ministry’s revised goal is to exceed 1,000 codes. These are food, detergents, cleaners, personal care products, etc. In particular, fresh milk, all bleaches, jams, sugar, cereals, yogurt, cold meats, rice.

Strict controls and fines on the market

At the same time, the Ministry of Development is carrying out checks on six more multinationals as well as 10-15 Greek companies for thousands of codes that are distributed in supermarkets in order to determine if there is an excess of the ceiling on the gross profit margin. It is recalled that fines totaling 2 million euros have already been imposed for unfair profiteering on the companies Unilever and Procter&Gamble. “We want businesses to make profits and grow, but also to abide by the laws,” recently stated the Minister of Development Kostas Skrekas in his statements. According to the minister, in 2023, 19,557 checks have been carried out, 1,521 fines have been imposed, while 4,348,000 euros have been confirmed or collected out of the 6,900,000 euros of fines that have been imposed. In other words, almost 70% of the fines that have been imposed, including the fines on the large chains of electrical appliances, have either been collected or certified to the tax office to be collected.

At the same time, the creation of the necessary modification to the application of the e-katanalotis platform is underway, so that consumers who find a violation of the law can even send relevant photos of the label on a supermarket shelf so that it can be immediately investigated.

It is worth noting that in addition to the “Permanent Price Reduction” initiative, the “Household Basket” continues. At the same time, the offers continue unabated. According to the nine-month data from research company NielsenIQ, manufacturers and retailers are trying to become even more competitive, further increasing their promotional intensity, from 67.9% at the end of last year, to 69.1% in the nine months. At the same time, the share of private label products continues its upward trajectory and from 24.4%, which was at the end of 2022, reached 24.8% in the nine months, with more and more consumers believing that the quality of of these products is improving or even as good as branded products.

Organized food retail (food stores over 100 sq m, mainland Greece & Crete, excluding islands) in the nine months of 2023 (YTD data to 1 October 2023) moved positively in value. Specifically, sales in value increased by 9.2% compared to the corresponding period last year. As far as fast-moving consumer products are concerned, they show a similar upward trend, at +9.5%, with this growth being purely inflationary, as sales volumes decreased marginally by -0.8%. In relation to the consumer price index, which for the same time period stands at +3.6%, the increase in the average price for FMCGs is many times higher, at +10.4%. As far as the individual FMCG supercategories are concerned, it is observed that in food & beverages the +10.9% increase in prices resulted in a comparatively greater decrease in volumes, by 1.5%, while on the contrary the more moderate increase (+4, 3%) of prices in the personal hygiene and beauty categories was combined with a corresponding increase in sales volumes by +4.5%.

Online supermarkets are also moving at a very good pace. Based on data from Convert Group, the turnover of online super markets increased by 15% in the first half of 2023, reaching 153 million euros at retail prices including VAT. Also noteworthy is the increase in orders by 11%, compared to the corresponding period of 2022. Compared to the corresponding period of 2022, the categories that increased in value (euro) of online purchases were: +32% in pet products, + 21% in stationery and cleaning products, +13% in beverages and soft drinks, +12% in baby products, +12% in frozen foods, +12% in fresh foods, +11% in bakery products, +7% in personal care products and beauty, +6% in packaged food, while other items increased in value (Euro) of online shopping by 9%.