Food prices soar beyond inflation rate

Consumer rights watchdogs have called on political decision-makers to take action as food is getting more expensive.Labour Chamber (AK) research focusing on the 41 most common products of daily life shows that Austrians are currently forced to fork out four per cent more for the same goods at supermarkets than in January.  Flour price rates soared by 69 per cent, while bananas have become 23 per cent more expensive. One litre of red wine currently costs 45 per cent more than in January.Furthermore, the study reveals that the overall price rate at shops rose by eight per cent compared to last September.The organisation’s investigations also identified several price declines. Especially cosmetic and healthcare products are cheaper than at the beginning of the year. The average price for toothpaste dropped by 36 per cent, while shampoo costs 14 per cent less.The AK nevertheless appealed to the government coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP) to consider initiatives which may take the pressure off citizens.Earlier this month, statistics showed a three per cent rise of the inflation rate for February 2011 – the highest year on year increase since October 2008 when a once-in-a-generation global crisis started. Car fuel became 22 per cent more expensive from February 2010 to the same month the following year, while heating oil trade rates rose by 30 per cent. In addition, statisticians registered a 24 per cent price jump for fruit.Experts and consumer pressure groups have claimed that the official inflation is not a fair index for price developments since it also considers goods and services which are rarely or never used by the vast majority.