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How much more expensive will Swedish Christmas food be this year?

TT/The Local
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How much more expensive will Swedish Christmas food be this year?
Swedish Christmas food often includes herring and eggs. Eggs have gone up by 23.9 percent on last year and herring has increased by 11.1 percent. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

An independent comparison of around a hundred Christmas food and drink items showed an increase of 14 percent on last year. If you throw in rising energy prices and inflation, it looks like it could be an expensive Christmas in Sweden this year.

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Matpriskollen, an independent supermarket price comparison site, carried out the research on behalf of Swedbank, a Swedish bank.

It examined how the price of a standard basket of Christmas goods had changed compared to last year, on the basis of the price of a hundred items popular at Christmas, which included ham, cheese and boxes of chocolates, but also items such as cream and clementines.

The comparison showed that the goods selected had increased in price by around 14 percent compared with last year. The entire basket of items cost around 4,000 kronor this year, up from around 3,500 kronor in 2021.

It wasn't the traditional Swedish Christmas foods - such as Christmas ham or herring - which had gone up in price the most, but more other items, such as cream and milk.

"It's things like dairy products which have seen the biggest increase," Ulf Mazur, CEO and founder of Matpriskollen said. "Sweets haven't gone up very much, and neither has pork."

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Not just food which has gone up

Swedbank also cited market research by Kantar Sifo, which showed that one in three Swedes planned to be cutting back on the celebrations this Christmas. 

"Many are saying now that they're going to cut back on the festivities this Christmas, but let's see how it turns out," Swedbank economist Arturo Arques said of the survey, which had about 3,000 respondents. 

He pointed out that as well as food, energy prices, interest rates, fuel and much else besides had got more expensive.

"People often say that before Christmas."

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Arques said that Swedbank could already see in its data of card transactions that Swedes had started to buy less. The amount of money changing hands is the same as last year, but inflation means that prices have gone up, bringing a decline in the number of card transactions. 

"It looks like many are cutting down on other expenses to spend money on the Christmas celebrations", he said.

Despite prices going up and Christmas getting more expensive, most people can still afford it, even if it's painful, he said.

"Four out of five households have a good buffer. They have money, but are having to prioritise."

One in five have small buffer

For those who are the worst off financially, the situation is less positive.

"One fifth of households are living with a small buffer or no buffer at all," Arques said.

This includes pensioners, the long-term ill and single parents, many of whom are women earning less than men, he explained.

"They're in a really tough situation. Many are saying that they'll have to cut down on things like holidays. But what can these people cut down on? They've never been able to go on holiday."

Christmas might not be quite so luxurious this year, but the same can be said for almost everything else, given the pressure on the average person's finances. With the country going into a period of low growth, things are only going to get tighter, according to Arques. 

But he said there were also reasons to look on the bright side. 

"Many households have a buffer. That's good. We can also see that unemployment is alright, for now. And the state has good finances. That's good," he said.

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