Rising prices threaten Greeks’ favorite spit-roasted Easter lamb


The Greeks are puzzling over what to serve on the Easter table, looking into the wallet and thinking for a long time before starting shopping.

Traditions require serving a lamb or kid, preferably whole and beautifully roasted on an open fire on a spit. Appetizing kokorets, colored eggs, a wide variety of salads, cheeses, pies and side dishes, mountains of cookies and sweet Easter cakes tsoureki, chocolate bunnies, wine, beer, ouzo, etc. are also considered a delicacy.

The tradition also requires that all family members, the elderly and children, many relatives and friends gather as early as 11 am and spend the whole day at the table: eating, singing and having fun until the early evening.

But things are different this year due to a price spike that has seen the cost of a whole lamb, weighing just 10kg, including bones, skyrocket to 150 euros.

There is not a single TV channel, print or online media that has not reported on the expensive Easter table and quoted Greeks complaining about prices. According to some publications, the traditional Easter table will be 20-39% more expensive than in 2021.

Some reported that a family of 6 would need to spend at least €300 for an Easter meal, bringing the cost to €50 per person.

Food prices rose by 77% compared to Easter 2021, according to a study conducted by the IELKA Research Institute for Consumer Goods (what did the authorities say about 8% inflation? Have you heard by chance?).

Overall average typical consumer basket in 2022 in large supermarket chains, excluding lamb, is valued at 45.35 euros, up 9% from 41.70 euros in 2021.

At the same time, the average price range (the difference between the lower and the highest price of a standard basket) within the categories under consideration remains high, at 35%, which indicates that consumers have access to a wide range of alternatives for another year (different varieties, quality , private label products, usage offers and discounts.)

Also significant price increases were recorded for lettuce and flour, followed by butter, mustard and pie dough. According to marketers, a combination of factors influences the rise in prices, while the average price for a consumer for lamb and lamb will be at the level of 15-16 euros per kilogram.

The setting of the final price depends on several factors, such as the cost of production (animal feed) and transport costs, which have increased significantly due to the war in Ukraine.

On average in the country, producers seek to recoup the cost of raising animals and want to sell mutton at 7.5-8.5 euros / kg for a lamb and 8.5-9.5 for a goat. Merchants are ready to give 8-8.5 euros per kilogram for both lamb and goat meat, while butchers want price limits both wholesale and retail.

In local markets, farmers and merchants have to bargain furiously.

If the wholesale price is about 9 euros, what could be the final price for the consumer? While the final price was up to 9.5 euros per kilogram in 2020, it has risen to 13.5 euros in 2021 and is expected to exceed 14 euros in 2022.

Greek Livestock Association (SEK) president Christos Tsombanos told the daily newspaper TA NEAthat the increase in the price of lambs sold this year is due to the rapid increase in the price of energy and animal feed, factors that have reduced production costs.

For his part, the President of the Federation of Animal Breeders of Thessaly, Yiannis Gourubinos, said that the significant pressures that exist this year make it inevitable to sell their products to traders at much higher prices than last year, in the range of 7.5-8.5 euros against 6, 5-7.5 euros per kilogram. Any lower price would result in a loss, he reasoned, and calculated that the final price at which a consumer would buy mutton from a butcher could be set at 12.5 euros. This is due to the transport costs and profit of the trader.

But the butcher also wants to make a profit…

Another problem with the Greek Easter table is … Catholic Easter (April 17), a week earlier than Orthodox Easter, which led to the mass export of young lambs weighing up to 7 kg, which were sent to Italy, Spain and Portugal.



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