Has your supermarket shop become more expensive in corona days?

Belgium’s prices observatory confirms what we all thought: the price of many everyday items has shot up during the corona crisis, but the size of our bill at the supermarket check-out may also be influenced by other factors: many of us are shopping differently than pre-corona.

It appears that price rises are partly due to the ban on discounts during the first lockdown.  It was a measure taken to deter hoarding.  When the ban was dropped prices didn’t always follow suit.

VRT’s Michaël Van Droogenbroeck sees other reasons too: “We want to shop safely and quickly and reach out for branded products more readily.  These are the products that have gone up in price most. The supermarket shop may have become more expensive but that’s partly due to the choices we make”.

It’s been a good year for the supermarkets. Much of the cash we usually spend in hospitality has been spent in the supermarket. But supermarkets also faced extra costs: disinfectant for shopping carts and a staff member to stand at the entrance all day.

Clearly hospitality has been the biggest economic victim of the crisis.  Food delivery services have thrived as demand for take-aways soared. People are also shopping more readily at local convenience stores.  It’s been a good year for the manufacturers of vending machines, a popular acquisition among many small retailers.

In contrast, it’s been a dreadful year for lager sales due to the hospitality closures, but Laure Stuyck of AB InBev confirms that “special beers performed quite a bit better.”

Demand for zero alcohol beer also rose.

“The stigma on zero alcohol bill has fallen away.  People view it as a fully-fledged alternative for everyday beer.  We’re left with a lot of alcohol in the brewery and use this to produce sanitisers” says Stuyck.  

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