Popular Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov has written a long post about how inflation and the so-called “counter-sanctions” are impacting Russians’ wallets at the store. This comes right on the heels of the government’s recent announcement that seven more countries’ products are scheduled to face import bans.
A year ago, in the beginning of August, when the ruble was 36 to the dollar, and people were rejoicing at the “counter-sanctions”, I went shopping and recorded the prices of basic products. And now it is time to compare…
At first glance, nothing really terrible happened. Prices have risen, but the average increase was about 10%. In general, the price of some products has not changed in the past year. But if you look closely, it becomes clear that the prices have been contained by a loss in quality. “Import substitution” takes place sluggishly, and with the departure of foreign competitors, Russian produces have received a carte blanche for a rate hike. Now, those who make soy sausage and other such s***, believe they can set prices at the level of the cost of ham, and the producers of disgusting milk powder believe that it can cost as much as the Finnish lactose free.
Of course, the price level depends not only on the will of the consumers. There is also the factor of the ruble. The ruble depreciates against the euro, namely the euro is often used for the packaging of Russian goods or, for example, for dairy equipment. It is logical that the cost of production per unit of goods is growing, and in the end, it cannot help but impact the consumer.
The anti-monopoly and other regulators have never and will never be able to keep track, so the president and the government cannot even try to make a promise on this score. And it is unclear whether it makes sense to regulate the prices, completely denying the market space to maneuver.
The price of fish has risen the most. No matter the producer country, the prices of all types of fish. For example, in “Utkonos” (a market whose name translates to “Platypus”) you can now buy salmon from the Faroe Islands, and “Azbuke Vkusa” (another store whose name translates to “ABC Taste”) is selling domestic salmon. But in both cases there has been a noticeable increase in price. In addition, there is less salmon. Earlier in “AV” you could find other types of salmon, at the time of inspection it could not be found due to the sanctions. In fact, no salmon steak, and no whole salmon were available in “Utkonos” at all. But there are pluses. For example, if a year ago, turbot cost 1500 rubles for a kilogram at “AV”, now it is possible to buy flounder (which is almost the same thing) for only 250 rubles.
By the way, about Russian fish. The price of the chilled fillets of cod from Russia at “Utkonos” has more than doubled , and the price of the Russian pollack in “Sedmoi Continent” has risen by more than 30%.
A year ago, in “AV”‘s “Fish & Seafood” section there were 27 options. Now in terms of frozen, chilled fish and seafood, there are 47. In “Sedmoi Continent” – 26 categories of fish. And “Utkonos” has quite a variety of fish – more than 100 items.
The price of milk has not changed in the past year. For obvious reasons, the European milk has disappeared, mainly from the Baltics and Finland.
The situation with cheese is very bad. Most importantly, now in Russia it is nearly impossible to buy good European cheeses. The most notorious parmesan, or mascarpone, or mozzarella is impossible to find. You can only buy cheese from Switzerland. By the way, some patriotic morons are running around the shops with a camera and screaming that they have found sanctioned Swiss cheese. These morons need to be reminded that Russian retaliatory sanctions have not been introduced against the Swiss, so in terms of cheese, there remains at least some outlet.
I have never found good Russian counterparts to European cheeses. All that they are trying to pass off on us as parmesan or mozzarella is inedible crap, unfortunately. I hope that someday we will learn to make it.
Meat & Chicken
The products compared in this section are Russian. And in general, the stores mostly stock meat from Russia. There are, of course, products from other countries. For example, duck breast from France (750 rubles for 350 grams), loin of lamb from New Zealand (329 rubles for 100 grams), or a shoulder of lamb from Australia (600 rubles per kilogram). But for the most part, it is still Russian meat.
And apparently, a significant increase in prices is not going to happen. However, three things were surprising. First – the beef sirloin in “Utkonos”. Second – pork cutlet in “Sedmoi Continent”. And third – veal. The prices of all of them have increased substantially. And I could not find veal in two stores.
Deli Meats & Sausages
The prices have risen significantly. It is one thing when prices soar for Italian ham or pate from Denmark. The reason is understandable. But it is another thing entirely when dairy sausages from Klinskoe are 25% more expensive.
The prices of vegetables and fruits are usually affected by seasonality. But as the prices are compared with last August, this factor does not play a role. If you look at the situation as a whole, vegetables have become more expensive too. Among them – cabbage, beets, and potatoes. The price of asparagus soared, which is imported from the Netherlands and Peru at “Utkonos”, and beet from Macedonia at “AV”. However, compared with last summer, prices fell for carrots, peppers, and mushrooms.
As for the producing countries, “AV” is certainly still dominating for foreign vegetables: Israeli peppers, and eggplant and pumpkin from South Africa, and Turkish onion. At the same time, you can find Russian and even Crimean cucumbers and tomatoes.
Fruit and Berries
Grapes and kiwi and some limes have become cheaper. The rest is much more example. Take for example, “Granny” apples. Whether they are from Chile, as in “AV”, or from Russia, as in “Sedmoi Continent”. And the price of Egyptian and South African oranges has significantly increased.
Have you noticed the rise in prices? What products have you had to give up?