Every year Swedish restaurant guide Gastrogate collates lunch prices based on 300,000 menus from eateries across the country, and in the first quarter of 2017 the average cost grew by 2.40 kronor, increasing to 94.90 kronor ($10.60) in total compared to last year.
If the trend continues, then the national average price will break the 100 kronor mark by 2020. At the moment, the most expensive place in Sweden is Örebro, with an average of 98.20 kronor ($10.97) per meal.
Stockholm is the second most expensive at 97.70 kronor ($10.91), and saw the biggest increase in price compared to 2016, jumping by 3.40 kronor.
“When the costs for the restaurants increase, the lunch prices often follow. Despite that, many eateries say it's too cheap to eat lunch in Sweden, and make losses at lunchtime in order to attract guests for the evening or other more profitable activities,” Gastrogate CEO Elias Norström told The Local.
With an average cost of 91 kronor ($10.16) Gothenburg is cheaper than the capital, but perhaps the most surprising development from Sweden's cities is Malmö, where the price of lunch has decreased by 2.40 kronor this year to an average of 89.20 kronor ($9.96).
That's the first time since 2012 that the cost of lunch has dropped in any area in Sweden.
“There's no straightforward explanation for why Malmö has become cheaper. There's talk of a price war there, where many new restaurants have opened and are opening, and where price is in many cases a competitive factor,” Norström noted.
“In general you pay a little bit more for better ingredients, better service and better surroundings.”
Anyone hunting for Sweden's cheapest lunch should look to Eskilstuna, west of Stockholm, where it costs an average of 84.30 kronor ($9.41) in 2017.
“There's gold to be found all over Sweden, with well prepared food for less than a 100 kronor note. If the price of the lunch doesn't match expectations, then the number of diners will decrease,” the restaurant expert concluded.