As of late, Ireland has been flagged as one of the most expensive countries in the EU for food. A market basket is a list of foods, convenience items, and services that are supposed to be representative of an average household spending which is used by economists to compare the consumer price index of each country. In general, this index also allows unflation to be recorded and compared from country to country.
Using this tool, Eurostat has found that prices of food an alcohol in Ireland are 20% higher than the average country, making it the fourth most expensive in the EU. This is surprising, given Ireland’s background as an agricultural nation.
For food alone, Ireland’s prices are 1.2 times more expensive when compared to the other 28 nations in the European Union. These high prices are harmful to consumers, but a definite draw for other EU based grocers. German companies Lidl and Aldi have begun expanding into Ireland, reducing prices below that of their Irish competitors. This business tactic is still effective, given that these discounted prices are still above or at the profit margin of their home country’s sales.
These lower prices from outside markets have caused some of the Irish grocers to reduce their prices, but not to a point where they are within range of the average. This is largely due to Irish governmental regulations and businesses strict watch of profit margins.
Although this is upsetting that the Irish pay more than their EU counterparts for food and beverage, I have personally been very impressed by the prices in Ireland compared to that of the United States.
Using some comparison software I was able to see what how the prices in Dublin differ from that of the city that I go to university. Dublin was on average more expensive in every category except for the price of food. In general, grocery prices are 7.15% lower than that of Columbus, OH, United States.
The prices that make the biggest difference to me are that of fresh fruits and vegetables; in the US, any fresh produce is substantially upcharged, making them less affordable especially when you are following a strict grocery budget.
Even with these differences in prices, the overall cost of living is much higher in Dublin compared to other EU countries and my city in the United States. Although there seems to be little change in the current pricing of groceries, there is hope that more foreign companies will invest in Ireland, forcing some of the Irish grocers to be more affordable.