It is no new information for anyone living in Hungary that prices have never been higher. Food prices, raw material and commodity prices, the price of services, prices in the hospitality industry. In other words, we have to pay much more for much less than one, two and three years ago. But how do Hungary’s prices compare to those of Germany and England or even the Netherlands, i.e. Western Europe? Rtl.hu investigated this with the help of Hungarian families who have moved abroad.
Where do chicken breasts, pasta, milk and some other staple foods cost less, Hungary or Western Europe? Rtl.hu asked Hungarian families who had moved abroad to buy the same products in the same quantities and then compared the prices with those here. According to an expert speaking to rtl.hu’s show Házon kívül, wage differentials and skyrocketing inflation mean that Hungarian families can now spend twice as much of their earnings on food as those in Western Europe.
Rtl.hu asked Hungarian families living in Western Europe to buy the following things:
They have chosen products that are easy to compare. That is why bread, for example, was left out. The selected products were then also purchased by rtl.hu’s crew in Hungary. Afterwards, an expert was interviewed about the reasons for the price increase and what to expect in the coming months.
Eszter and her family live in Groningen, the Netherlands. “The cheapest butter is 1 euro 79 cents,” she said, pointing to a 250-gram package of butter. This is a little over HUF 700: the same butter could be twice as much in Hungary. According to Eszter Valkó, the rise in prices is also noticeable in the Netherlands, but people are not particularly concerned.
Dénes Horváth lives in Guildford, UK, with his family. They also see some price increases, but they say it is not significant. As most people are earning well, Dénes says prices are not really a concern. “It is not really a topic of conversation, neither with the Hungarians here nor with the British.” “If the cost of a big purchase goes up from GBP 60 to, say, GBP 70, it is still a tiny fraction of the average salary, so they do not panic. Most people are still left with more than they need to live on at the end of the month,” Dénes explains.
Eszter Kazinczi from Vilshofen, Bavaria said that as opposed to some time ago, now it is not worth doing the big shopping in Hungary when she comes home. What is shocking is that she can buy most of the typical Hungarian products can be purchased in Bavaria for a cheaper price. “A sausage from Békéscsaba [csabai kolbász] costs 1 euro 50 cents. At home, it would have cost over a thousand forints to buy it last time,” she told rtl.hu.
Since VAT is also much lower in Germany, there is not much else worth buying at home. “We stopped buying clothes, shoes, things like that in Hungary a long time ago,” says Eszter. Although the increase was moderate, Eszter says that many employers have increased wages. “They are trying to help workers in this difficult situation, my workplace, for example, took the initiative by itself.” She says price rises are not really a topic of discussion in Germany either.
Here are the results. Shopping was the most expensive in the Netherlands. There, Eszter Valkó shopped partly in a market and partly in a shop. She paid HUF 4643 (EUR 11.77). Shopping in England was the second most expensive. Since Dénes Horváth only received a one-kilo package of chicken breast and pasta, we only compared half of their prices, at under GBP 10. He paid HUF 4410 (EUR 11.18).
Shopping in Hungary cost HUF 4176 (EUR 10.59). With price-capped milk (which rtl.hu did not get anywhere), it would have been slightly cheaper, but even so, they could not beat Eszter Kazinczi. The supermarket in Germany was the cheapest: Eszter paid less than EUR 10, or HUF 3,811 (EUR 9.65), for the five products she bought.
In Western Europe, in many cases, you can buy better quality organic food at roughly the same price as at home. However, there is a big difference: the salary, which you have to use to pay for your shopping. “In Western Europe, wages are two to three times higher than in Hungary. That is why people are better off in Germany or the Netherlands. That is why they were not so shocked by the food price increase, which was not as high there as in Hungary,” explains Portfolio analyst József Hornyák.
Hungarians spend twice as much of their income on food consumption alone as people in developed Western European countries, he adds. What is more, there is still no room to breathe a sigh of relief. The analyst says that the peak of inflation is still ahead of us and will only come down in the second half of the year, if all goes well.
Source: rtl.hu, portfolio.hu