Cost of living: 'Enormous' increase in food prices in January in Sweden

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Cost of living: 'Enormous' increase in food prices in January in Sweden
Producers don't negotiate categories for all types of food at the same time, which is why some items have seen a delay before going up in price. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Food prices are still on the increase in Sweden, at an even higher rate than at the end of 2022. Here's why.


The increase in food prices in January was 1.4 percent – one of the largest increases reported since food prices started rising almost a year ago.

Some items saw "enormous" increases in January compared with December, Ulf Mazur, CEO and founder of independent comparison site Matpriskollen, told TT newswire.

"There's no stopping it."

In January, the price of groceries increased 1.3 percent on December, with the price of food specifically increasing by 1.4 percent. Food prices have now gone up 16.3 percent in the last 12 months.

"It was a bit calmer during the autumn in September, October and November, but now that price increases are back we're seeing enormous increases," Mazur said.

Items such as snacks, fish and shellfish, vegetables and bread are among those which have seen the greatest increases.

Some categories, such as beer, sweets and sugar, have previously not risen in price significantly. That has now changed, with these items also rising sharply in price last month.


Some examples highlighted by Mazur include one brand of frozen cod portions, which increased by 64.2 percent in January compared to December, one chain's own-brand sugar cubes which went up by over 55 percent, and caster sugar which increased by 44 percent.

"With single items increasing by so much – it's like a snowball, it never ends," he said.

This time, Coop has hiked its prices the most of all the major supermarket chains, according to Matpriskollen's analysis. 

"Coop was a bit lower when it came to price increases before, but they made up for that in January," Mazur said.

"There's such a cost pressure now."

With production costs rising, food producers are negotiating price increases with supermarkets. However, not all categories are negotiated at the same time, which is one of the reasons some items haven't gone up in price as fast as others.


In some cases, this delay can last for up to six months.

This is one of the reasons why Mazur expects to see continued price hikes during spring, even if inflation were to stop immediately.

"The rate of price increases will go down, but prices will continue to rise," he said.

When production costs lessen, prices won't start to go down again, rather they'll stay still at the high level they are at now, he explained. Coffee, which recently dropped by around 10 kronor per kilo, is one exception.

"It shows there's a will from producers to lower prices again when costs drop."


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