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Greek Minister Says Household Basket Helps Families Afford Food

November 25, 2022

ATHENS –  Greek households are struggling with food prices during soaring inflation but 90,000 so far have benefited from using the so-called Household Basket scheme at supermarkets to hold down prices on 51 essential items.

The New Democracy government has touted the plan as one answer to jumping food prices making staple items out of reach for many, such as coffee, bread and pasta, but said it can’t afford to reduce a 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food, one of the European Union’s highest.

Offsetting criticism that the baskets aren’t helping much, Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis said they’re effective and being used.

“Stable prices in an environment with about 10 percent inflation rate is already a very significant contribution,” he told journalists during a visit to a store of one of the supermarket chains taking part in the Greek capital.

“We said it would be a difficult winter, but we are doing everything we can to make it easier for the public,” he said, reported the Chinese news agency Xinhua, with the government also pouring 9 billion euros ($9.38 billion) in state aid for electricity bills that have doubled or more.

The “household basket,” which is updated on a weekly basis, includes everything from bread, flour, eggs, meat, fish, spaghetti, beverages, dairy products, toilet paper and baby formulas to pet food with prices lower than those off the list.

Consumers can browse these products and their prices at each supermarket on the ministry’s website and identify them on supermarket shelves by a special label, the report noted, although they had not always been easy to find.

According to the ministry’s website, out of 816 products included in the basket for one week, prices were reduced for 167 items, increased for 60 and remained unchanged for 589 compared to the previous week, while the overall decline in prices was 18.1 percent.

The initiative, which will run throughout the winter, triggered competition, and reduced or stable prices now also apply to products that are not included in the basket, Georgiadis said but some shoppers said items they prefer aren’t  included.

The lists can be found by downloading and using the mobile app and the https://e-katanalotis.gov.gr/ website said Warply, the company tasked with developing the relevant software and training supermarkets in its use.

“We are extremely proud of the acceptance of the ‘household basket’ measure has with consumers, who have added the proposed products to all their baskets, while we also feel the need to thank the development and investment ministry’s leadership and the (supermarket) chains for their excellent cooperation,” said Warply founder and General Director Yiannis Doxaras, reported the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA.

Four weeks into the operation, he reported a total of 220,000 downloads on the app and 120,000 visits a day to the site, while more than 90,000 consumers generated their baskets and monitored prices there.

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