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ECONOMY

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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FOOD & DRINK

Meet the Spanish twin chefs who earned a third Michelin star

When they were just eight years old, Spanish twins Sergio and Javier Torres set a goal: they wanted to become chefs who were among the top in their field.

Meet the Spanish twin chefs who earned a third Michelin star

To achieve this they strategically split up to get training in different esteemed kitchens around the world, published books on cooking and presented a popular TV show.

The plan worked.

Over four decades after they surprised their family by saying they wanted to be chefs, Sergio and Javier’s Barcelona restaurant, Cocina Hermanos Torres, was awarded a third Michelin star last month.

“We developed a plan, that I think is a perfect plan,” a smiling Javier, 51, said at the restaurant, one of only 13 in Spain and Portugal with the top three-star ranking from the prestigious French guide.

“When we started to go out of Barcelona we thought that Sergio would take one path, I would take another, and we would never coincide until we were ready,” he added.

The journey took the twins – who grew up in a working-class Barcelona neighbourhood – to different elite restaurants in Spain, Switzerland and France.

Before moving to Paris where he worked with top French chef Alain Ducasse, Sergio spent two years at the award-winning Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier which is also run by twins – Jacques and Laurent Pourcel.

“We were separated but every month we met up in a restaurant, ate well, we spent the little money we had and developed the next steps of our strategy,” said Sergio as sat beside his brother.

READ ALSO: These are Spain’s new Michelin-starred restaurants

Grandmother influence

Each brother specialised in different areas – one learned to cook meat and vegetables, the other fish and bread, he added.

Both siblings credit their grandmother for their passion for cooking. She was part of a wave of people who moved from the southern region of Andalusia to the more industrialised Catalonia in the northeast in search of better life following Spain’s devastating 1936-39 civil war.

“Our grandmother looked after us, and since she was in the kitchen all day we literally grew up in a kitchen,” said Sergio.

After earning two Michelin stars with their previous project “Dos Cielos” and becoming familiar faces thanks to their participation in a cooking show, they decided to open Cocina Hermanos Torres in 2018.

The twins visited some 200 possible locations before settling on an industrial building near Barcelona’s iconic Camp Nou football stadium.

They invested nearly €3 million to convert it into the restaurant, which seats a maximum of 50 people in tables with no wall separating them from the three work stations where staff prepare meals.

“We wanted to reflect what we experienced in our childhood, which was a kitchen and a table, and everyone around the table,” said Javier.

‘Difficult road’

The tasting menu costs €255, with another €160 if it is paired with wine, a stiff price in a country where the monthly minimum wage is around €1,000.

READ ALSO – REVEALED: Spain’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants

Praised for its creative and playful cuisine, among the dishes served is cured squid with poultry broth and an onion soup with Parmesan cheese and truffles.

“You will experience flavours that you have never experienced before, because you will discover a cuisine where you will like what you don’t like,” said Sergio.

On a recent visit at noon 50 staff members – many of them young – are busy at work finalising details before customers arrive.

“It seems like today a chef is like a ‘super star’. It’s a very difficult road, very difficult, with long hours and it’s very hard to make it, it takes tremendous perseverance,” said Sergio.

“You have to risk it, go for broke, give it your all, because if you don’t, you are not living,” he added with a smile.

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