Which Spanish supermarkets have put up their prices the most?

Grocery prices in Spanish supermarkets have been rising sharply over the past year, but which chains have increased their prices the most?

supermarket in Spain
Which supermarkets in Spain have increased prices the most. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

Spain’s main supermarket chains have raised their prices by 9.4 percent in the last year, according to a study by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU).

Due to rising inflation and the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, the consumer watchdog has also confirmed that this price escalation has mostly occurred in the last three months. 

Carrefour and Mercadona, are the supermarket chains with the highest increases.

In total there have been 15 months of continuous increases in all the supermarket chains analysed by the OCU. The rise has been close to 10 percent in all of them, with small differences. While Alcampo continues to be the cheapest national chain.

From March 2021 to March 2022, Carrefour saw increases of 12.1 percent, while Mercadona saw increases of 11.4 percent. However, both Mercadona and Carrefour continue to be among the cheapest national chains.

On the other end of the scale, El Corte Inglés and Hipercor experienced the lowest price increases at 7.7 percent.

The other chains hover between 9.5 percent increases in the case of Eroski and 8.4 percent in the case of Condis.  

What are the products that have increased in price the most?

Oil and fish are the items that shot up in price the most. Oil rose by a whopping 34 percent and fish prices grew by 16 percent. Other items that rose considerably include packaged and processed foods (11 percent increase) and dairy products (also 11 percent increase).

These price surges are worrying because if they are maintained, it will mean an increase of more than €500 a year for food shopping for the average Spanish family.

READ ALSO: The food products that are more expensive than ever in Spain

Why are groceries in Spain now so much more expensive?

Rising energy costs, inflation and the war in Ukraine are among the main causes highlighted by the OCU for the rise in the cost of products.

These lead to a rise in production costs and a shortage in some products such as that of sunflower oil, much of which comes from Ukraine.

As the economy ground to a halt during the pandemic lockdowns, the production of gas and other fossil fuels was cut to adjust to low demand. The sharp rebound in activity caused an imbalance and in turn caused the prices of these fuels to rise. 

In recent months these factors have also caused a rise in the prices of raw materials, such as fertilisers used in agriculture and wheat, necessary to make a whole array of other food items. High energy prices have also increased costs for farms, and fisheries, in addition to those faced by distributors and manufacturers.

The OCU analysed 156 products across nine different supermarket chains in 10 different Spanish cities for just over a year from December 2020 to March 2022

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Why meat prices in Spain will rise if the war in Ukraine continues

Rising cereal prices caused by the war in Ukraine are having a knock-on effect on meat prices in Spain, and things could get worse if the war continues.

Why meat prices in Spain will rise if the war in Ukraine continues

You might not have known that cereals are key to the meat industry, but you may have noticed meat and poultry prices rising on supermarket shelves. The feed eaten by animals, such as pigs, is usually made up of around 20 percent corn, and the rise in cereal prices is now affecting the rest of the food chain, and meat prices in Spain in particular.

Experts are now warning that prices could continue to rise if the war in Ukraine continues. This is because Russia is the world’s main producer of grain crops, a key ingredient in many animal feeds. A continuation of the war could therefore lead to further price increases that could indirectly affect all animal products such as ham, eggs, and milk.

READ MORE: Products that are more expensive than ever due to the war in Ukraine

Meat prices in Spain were rising even before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, and have climbed by 18 percent in the last year. 

The added economic shock of war, though, has caused meat prices to spike: beef prices, for example, have risen by almost 1 percent a week since March.

Jesús, a livestock owner, explained to Spanish outlet La Sexta that feeding his animals accounts for around 80 percent of the cost of production for his business, therefore, if cereal prices continue to climb, so will the price of his product.

This extra cost will then be passed on to consumers in supermarkets. “The [price of the] shopping cart is going up and it is logical, there is no other way to do it, products are going to be much more expensive,” he said.

The conflict-induced price spikes come amid tough economic times in Spain, not only because the country is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because Spaniards have been feeling the pinch of inflation in the last year. 

READ MORE: Products made more expensive than ever due to inflation

Last October, electricity bills were sixty-three percent higher than the previous year, according to statistics from Spain’s Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE). Spain’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) ended 2021 at 6.5 percent – fractionally lower than forecast but still the highest level in almost thirty years.

According to a recent survey by the Bank of Spain, 60 percent of national companies plan to raise their prices in the coming year.