Basic grocery items for a household of four have gone up by over €20 in just two years, though there are signs that the rate o increase in the cost of living is slowing down.

Research carried out by UHM Voice of the Workers shows that the average price of a shopping list which strictly comprises essential items only went up from €136.35 to €157.02 – an increase of €20.66.

The research is carried out on a monthly basis whereby prices from three main supermarkets are monitored and fluctuations recorded.

Though the increase has eaten up the cost of living allowance which over the past two years has reached record highs at €9.90 in 2023 and €12.81 this year, there has been a significant slowdown in inflation since the latter part of last year. However, this does not imply prices going down but rather that they are relatively becoming stable while still going up over time.

As regards the impact of government’s scheme Stabbiltà – launched last January as a measure to reduce prices of 15 categories of staple foods-  the impact could not be measured as only one or two products were in the list of the UHM study. However, the slowdown in the inflation hike in Malta is being reflected in Europe as well where there are no such schemes.

Meanwhile, competition among supermarket chains has become fierce more than ever – which is good for consumers – but shopping for groceries in large supermarkets at times has become hectic and chaotic especially when there are some offers.

One of the significant conclusions of this research is the impact of taxing COLA with respect to combating inflation. It transpires that over the course of this year government is taking back something in the region between an entire shopping basket worth around €160 up to two shopping baskets worth in total over €300. The amount which depends on the level of income of every household was calculated using various scenarios based on different tax computations.  The table below summarizes the findings with the top row being the level of income and the first column the tax status used to make the workings. The numbers are the overall amount of money which is going back to government’s coffers in the form of tax out of the €12.81 weekly increase. The baskets represent the equivalent amount in terms of shopping baskets worth €157.