MADRID – The Spanish consumer organisation OCU is raising the alarm about rising food prices around Christmas. The cost of a typical Spanish Christmas meal has risen by as much as 44% in eight years.
This year prices are again at record highs, comparable to the peak of 2022. Their annual research shows that the cost of a typical Spanish Christmas meal has risen by as much as 44% in eight years.
Prices stable but high
According to OCU’s study, based on November data, prices have not risen further this year, but remain at the extremely high levels of last year. “We are not seeing any obvious price increases compared to last Christmas, but prices are still at an all-time high,” the OCU notes. This means that consumers are once again confronted with an expensive Christmas period.
OCU research method
The OCU annually selects 16 typical Christmas products, plus some alternatives, and monitors prices in supermarkets, hypermarkets, large department stores and municipal markets in ten Spanish cities. These are Albacete, Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia, Seville, Valencia, Valladolid and Zaragoza. The supermarkets surveyed are: Carrefour, Mercadona and El Corte Inglés in the 10 cities. Also Alcampo (except in Bilbao, Malaga and Valladolid), Hipercor (in Madrid, Malaga, Seville, Valencia, Valladolid and Zaragoza). Several locally large supermarket chains were also investigated.
The first price measurement took place at the end of November, followed by a second after the long weekend of the Puente de la Constitución and finally just before Christmas.
Significant increases and decreases
The significant price increases of some products are striking. For example, prices for almejas (shellfish) have increased by 23%, while prices for besugo (sea bream) and turkey are 11% higher than last year. Other products such as pineapple and amber snails remain virtually the same in price. Remarkable is the price drop of sea bass and hake by 13%, and of shrimp by 12%.
Prices in perspective
When prices are compared over a longer period, the Christmas basket has become no less than 44.4% more expensive in eight years. Certain products, such as besugo and almejas, have seen their prices explode to unprecedented levels between 2022 and 2023. Products such as lamb, hake and amber snails have become approximately 50% more expensive in the past nine years. Only chicken and sea bass have maintained a stable and reasonable price over time.
The OCU emphasises that the high cost of the Christmas basket poses a challenge for Spanish households. With an average increase of more than 44% over eight years, consumers will once again have to dig deep into their pockets for their traditional Christmas dinner this year.