A list of essential items from three major supermarket chains in Malta has increased by an average of €7.20 since the turn of the year according to a study being carried out by UHM Voice of the Workers. The increase is further testament that the €1.75 cost of living allowance received by employees from the start of this year is no match for the soaring expenses being faced by households.

The trend also confirms the concerns being raised on the alarming rise in the cost of living which has been triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequently the war in Ukraine. Moreover, the findings tally with government’s official data issued by the National Statistics Office whereby last February food items excluding restaurants and take-aways registered an increase of 9 percentage points when compared to the corresponding month of 2021.

UHM’s study is based on the price fluctuations of essential items like food and toiletries as observed in the major supermarket chains. These ongoing observations are being carried out once a month and the prices compared. However, items such as sweets, alcohol, other kinds of beverages and cigarettes were not included.

It transpires that between January and April the bills increased across the board from €4.23 up to €11.69. These equate to a rise varying between 3% to 9%.

The analysis also tries to establish the impact which the €1.75 increase is having to mitigate this rise. For this exercise it was assumed that prices between now and the rest of this year would not increase in order not to speculate with the figures. Moreover, it was assumed that five shopping visits would be made every two months. Nevertheless, it results that even in such a scenario COLA would not cover the increase as it would fall short between €14.75 up to €201.08 per year.

From a closer perspective the highest increases were registered for fresh beef and chicken products, dairy products, detergents and toilet paper, coffee and pasta. One interesting finding is that there is no supermarket which offers the cheapest prices on all products. Hence, unless one is prepared to dedicate long hours to tour Malta’s supermarkets, it is not possible securing the best deals on all products. However, in this particular exercise Pavi-Pama turned out to be the cheapest option overall.