|Economist Jim Power and Agri Aware Chairman Mairead Lavery
Irish consumers spent €2.6 billion more on alcohol and cigarettes than food in 2007. Agri Aware, the farming and food educational body, has also revealed that for every €1 spent on food, consumers are spending €0.73 more on alcohol, tobacco and mobile phones.
Last June, the European Commission reported that Ireland topped the European Union with spending on alcohol at 4.1% of total household expenditure compared with EU27 average of 1.2%.
The ‘Food Prices: Where’s Your Cents?!’ campaign launched by Agri Aware, aims to rationalise growing consumer concerns over so-called ‘excessive’ food prices and encourage consumers to asses their personal expenditure on non-essential items.
Economist, Jim Power, stated “Everyday we hear criticism about food prices, yet we’re spending more on booze alone every year. Fundamentally, there is something very wrong about this.”
The campaign discloses that many food items would be 25% more expensive had prices tracked annual inflation. In addition, when compared to other essential services, food prices have run 30% below inflation since 2000; Heating bills have increased by 87% and Water Supply and Refuse prices by 258%.
The economist also highlighted, “Nobody is denying that food prices are rising, but when compared to other everyday costs the Irish public are still getting value for money. I believe that the decline in the economy will encourage consumers to reassess their shopping habits and realise it’s more a case of excessive spending than excessive prices!” Agri Aware Chairman, Mairead Lavery commented