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Food prices surge dramatically in Sweden

Stockholm, Feb 7 (IANS) Inflation continues to hover at lofty levels in Sweden with food prices registering the largest monthly increases in a year, according to a survey released here.

In the survey covering around 44,000 items, price comparison site Matpriskollen found that food prices increased by 1.3 per cent in January, which is one of the largest monthly increases since inflation took off sharply in January 2022, Xinhua news agency quoted Swedish Television (SVT) as saying.

The prices of snacks and sweets increased by 3.1 per cent month-on-month in January and by 14.8 per cent year-on-year, followed by fish and seafood 2.4 per cent (20.2 per cent year-on-year), desserts 2.3 per cent (17.2 per cent), vegetables 1.9 per cent (13.5 per cent) and bread and cookies 1.9 per cent (16.3 per cent), SVT reported.

Although the price hikes for cheese and dairy products were not as steep in January as for some other categories, cheese became 25.4 per cent more expensive year-on-year, while the price of dairy products increased by 23.6 per cent.

Matpriskollen’s survey also found that some items for which inflation was relatively modest in 2022 suddenly became considerably more expensive in January.

“For some items, the price hike was brutal in January,” Ulf Mazur, founder and managing director of Matpriskollen, told SVT.

“This concerns, for example, sugar and beer. The remarkable thing is that it was not a long and slow increase but a shock increase (in January) for certain items.”

As an example, SVT listed a brand of sugar in a particular size of packaging that was 44 per cent more expensive in January.

There are also examples where tomato juice and gluten-free pasta became 40 per cent and 33 per cent more expensive, respectively, SVT reported.

According to the latest data released by Statistics Sweden in January, 12-month inflation measured as Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 12.3 per cent in December 2022, which was the highest rate of inflation since February 1991.