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Denmark is EU’s most expensive country for buying groceries

Shopping for food in Denmark results in higher costs at the checkout than in any other EU country.

Denmark is EU’s most expensive country for buying groceries
File photo: Johan Gadegaard / Midtjyske Medier / Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark is the most expensive country for food and drink products – excluding alcoholic drinks – in the EU, according to Statistics Denmark calculations.

Danish prices for food and drink are around 30 percent higher than the EU average, with bread and wheat-based products particularly standing out for their relative expense.

Last year, Denmark was also rated as the union’s priciest country for consumer goods.

The EU’s cheapest prices for groceries can be found in Romania and Poland, while Luxembourg, Austria and Finland were the next-most expensive countries after Denmark.

Several reasons can be ascribed to Denmark’s relatively high grocery costs, according to Mads Lundby Hansen, head economist with liberal thinktank Cepos.

“It is connected with aspects such as a high level of affluence, which pushes up wages and thereby prices. We also have relatively high value added tax (moms in Danish, ed.), which also affects prices,” Hansen told Ritzau via a written message.

Outside of the EU but remaining in Europe, some countries do have higher prices than Denmark.

Switzerland, Norway and Iceland have prices 65, 61 and 50 percent higher than the EU average, respectively.

Neither is Denmark the EU’s most expensive country for certain products.

The Scandinavian country is at around the EU average for the price of tobacco, putting it behind the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Alcohol prices in Denmark are 24 percent over the EU average, but even that is cheap in comparison with Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, the United Kingdom and Estonia, where prices range from 26 to 82 percent above the EU average.

READ ALSO: Denmark is most expensive EU country for consumer goods

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MONEY

Why coffee could cost more for Danish consumers in 2022

The price of raw coffee beans recently reached its highest level for ten years, media in Scandinavia report, a trend which is likely to impact consumer prices in the region.

A photo of coffee beans in Denmark. Consumers in the country may soon notice a higher cost per cup.
A photo of coffee beans in Denmark. Consumers in the country may soon notice a higher cost per cup. File photo: Mathias Svold/Ritzau Scanpix

Raw coffee currently costs more than at any time in the last decade, Norwegian financial media E24 reported on Tuesday.

A doubling of the cost per kilo during the last year, reported by E24 in the summer, has been followed by further increased in recent months. The current price of 37 Norwegian kroner (28.3 Danish kroner) per kilogram is the highest for a decade, the media writes.

That is in spite of a strengthening of Norway’s currency against the US dollar, according to E24. The Danish krone is also currently strong.

Because raw coffee beans are always traded in dollars, with prices set by the New York Stock Exchange a strong exchange rate should theoretically make the beans cheaper to import to Nordic countries.

“I think we are seeing a new normal when it comes to the industrial market price of coffee,” Ola Brattås, head of imports with Norwegian chain Kaffebrenneriet, told E24.

Higher prices have already made an impression on Danish coffee companies.

Markets for the product are currently uncertain, said Lars Aaen Thøgersen, head of communication and development with Peter Larsen Kaffe.

“It’s been this way for some time. There has been uncertainty around the harvest, particularly in Brazil,” Thøgersen told news wire Ritzau.

Drought in Brazil, linked to illegal rainforest logging and climate change, is reported by E24 as a key factor in coffee prices. The International Coffee Organization’s September 2021 report also mentions weather in Brazil.

That has compounded higher transport costs and general uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

Although companies like Peter Larsen can purchase coffee directly from producers and thereby avoid financial markets, they are unable to avoid knock-om effects of high market values, according to Thøgersen.

“When this happens, all supplies around us are affected. So that naturally also affects our situation,” he said.

That means consumers are likely to also feel the effects at some point down the line, the coffee company spokesperson said.

“Consumers can already feel that prices have gone up now, and it will quite likely also be felt further,” he said.

“But it should also be put into perspective, because if you calculate per cup of coffee, a consumer will only notice a few øre (difference in price),” he also noted.

Supermarket chain Coop, which owns the Kvickly, Superbrugsen and Irma stores in Denmark, is currently negotiating 2022 supplier prices. The outcome of those negotiations is not yet known,” head of information Jens Juul Nielsen told Ritzau.

“How this will be felt on store shelves, we can’t yet say,” Nielsen said.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s energy prices hit highest level for nine years

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