The Consumer Council released the results of its annual supermarket goods price survey in 2022 on Monday, finding that while the prices of eggs and milk dropped by 3.9% and 2.6%, the price tags on staple foods, seasonings, and canned foods increased 5.4%, 4.8%, and 4.6%.
Using data from the checkout scanners of three supermarket chain brands, the survey’s most significant finding was that the average price of a basket of 260 common grocery items had risen 2.1% from 2021. This is up from 1.9% in the 2020-2021 period, and is the biggest year-on-year jump since 2013.
The prices of 175 items surveyed increased. The products that saw the biggest price hikes were cheese, tea bags, and butter, which became 10.2%, 11.7%, and 15.4% more expensive. Average prices of cleaning products, pet food, toothpaste, and baby food also rose.
Wine, on the other hand, saw the largest decrease in average price, dropping by 5.1%. Shampoo, soap, and diaper prices also became slightly more affordable.
The Council also compared the prices of online grocery items from the first quarter of 2023 so far to the first quarter of 2019, and found an average price hike of 12%. The top four biggest categories were all canned foods, a surge they attributed to increased demand when social distancing and pandemic isolation measures were in full effect.
In a press release, the consumer watchdog urged supermarket groups to “[strive] to control prices of necessities such as staple foods and groceries” as the Hong Kong economy attempts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, the government handed out digital consumption vouchers worth HK$1,500 and HK$3,000 on Sunday in a bid to stoke the local economy.
This report comes two weeks after fares on cross-harbour ferry rides rose by 55%, and just days after three other ferry companies applied for fare increases that would see ticket prices on ferries between Central and the outlying islands of Lamma Island and Peng Chau double.