Food Price Watch - Brussels

Food Price Watch - Brussels

Milk for sale in Brussels
World Food Crisis

The Brussels basket

Each week, our correspondent visits the same shop to buy five of the staple items found in the typical Brussels shopping basket.

The price rises and falls will be tracked and contribute to the World Food Price Index.

  • Beef
  • Eggs (6)
  • Bread (white loaf, 400gr)
  • Milk (1L)
  • Potatoes (1kg)

Ben Shore in Brussels writes:

The issue with food prices in Brussels is competition. Where competition exists the prices do tend to come down.

You may spot in the graph a sudden drop in the price of eggs. This is due to the fact that Europe is simply producing more eggs. Consumers in supermarkets in Brussels are getting their hands on thousands of eggs imported from next door neighbour, the Netherlands. Consequently the price is going down.

You may also see that the price of potatoes is going up, having dropped down for a short while. According to one of the main agricultural federations in Belgium there is considerable under supply of potatoes because farmers grew too many last year, and ended up getting a very low price. This year they have decided to plant less, and so the price is more steady.

The fundamental aspect of food prices in Europe however is that wealthy European consumers demand (and get) the food they want. The distribution networks are efficient and the shops are sophisticated in their procurement strategies. Competition is fierce and standards are high, and crucially the cost of food is relatively small compared to high salaries.

The graph

Prices have remained relatively stable in Brussel and some prices have even dropped.

On the graph below, the orange line representing the price of bread is hidden behind Potatoes and Milk, and have remained level at 100.

Food Prices in Brussels