Greek Food Shoppers Turning to Private Brands, Uncertainty Roils Market

ATHENS – Concerned about soaring prices, Greek households are increasingly turning to private brands and generic goods in supermarkets as the industry grapples with uncertainty over whether conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip will impact consumer behavior.

This trend extends to “fast-moving” consumer goods, which comprise the majority of food baskets, according to the business newspaper Naftemporiki. Volatility is cited as the primary reason durable prices remain high despite decreasing inflation.

Alexandros Daniilidis, President of the industry, remarked during the 29th General Assembly of ECR Hellas that, “In the retail sector, we are confronted with a global environment where predicting the next major challenge is exceedingly difficult.”

Senior executives in the retail sector described the market as challenging, with suppliers and retailers acting as “challenge managers” to meet consumer demands while ensuring growth.

While improvements in key cost indicators, such as energy, are viewed positively, cautious market reactions, particularly regarding pricing, persist.

The New Democracy government is cracking down on companies engaging in profiteering, with inspectors monitoring supermarket prices as the cost of food remains a top concern, according to surveys.

According to an annual phone survey conducted in January 2024 by the Marketing Lab of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), using a random sample of 1880 households, buyers are increasingly opting for cheaper brands and favoring Greek domestic brands over multinational conglomerates, thereby supporting local companies, food producers, and farmers affected by the deadly floods and fires of 2023.

Respondents largely attributed high prices to big companies, with 68% faulting them, while 24.2% blamed supermarkets, only 6.9% pointed to domestic manufacturers, and 0.9% said small shops were the reason.

Opinions were divided on the government’s initiative to encourage supermarkets to offer “Household Baskets” containing 51 staple items at controlled prices, with 53.5% considering it useful.

Professor Giorgos Baltas of the Athens-Macedonia News Agency stated that private label products now constitute approximately 36% of the household basket, up from 33% in 2023. He emphasized that this is the highest percentage recorded in the 19 years of conducting the survey, indicating a significant shift towards private label products in consumer preferences.


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