Kebab shops, consumers fret as meat prices rise

“It’s murder out there” one kebab shop owner told the Cyprus Mail as she spoke about the rise in prices in the industry, while supermarkets warned of a 20-25 per cent hike in some basic goods next week.

The kebab shop owner said the surge in the cost in procuring key items from meat, sunflower oil, to energy and even vegetables will have to be passed on to the consumers “no matter how much we don’t want to.”

“We’re just not sure when to raise the prices, our butcher told us that another rise is due next week and advised us to increase the price after that so we’re not ‘playing games’ and confusing customers,” the Larnaca resident said.

Pork has gone up ten per cent and is due for another ten per cent rise next week, while chicken has increased about 15 cents per kilo but even basic goods such as the wrapping paper has gone up, too, the owner said.

One butcher told us that the price of meat will continue to rise amid fears that the producers are facing serious shortages of animal feed.

The supermarkets also issued warnings on Friday, after having previously sought to calm the nerves of consumers.

General secretary of the retailers’ association Marios Antoniou said that the impact of the sanctions on Russia have not yet fully materialised across the Cypriot market.

He said that significant increases of 20-25 per cent on key goods will be felt by consumers next week, singling out meat as the main factor.

He warned that the price of chicken is set to rise by 20-25 per cent.

Elsewhere, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said that the livestock industry in Cyprus has been hit with a 70 per cent year-on-year rise in the cost of grains.

“We’re speaking of massive increases, and these have not yet fully reached the end consumer,” he told local TV station Alpha, adding that the rise will have to be metred out throughout the chain and will eventually reach end-products (goods on shelves, for example).

He said that an EU meeting of agriculture ministers is scheduled for Brussels next week and hopes to return with policies that can support the sector.

Separately, Kadis said that the state has secured 20,000 tonnes of corn and aims to procure 16,000 tonnes of barley.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine last month has severely curtailed shipments from the two countries, which jointly account for around 25 per cent of world wheat exports and 16 per cent of world corn exports, leading to surging prices for the grains on international markets.

Russia is also one of the world’s largest suppliers of fertiliser – prices of which had already spiked last year, contributing to a 30 per cent increase in world food prices and a related increase in global hunger levels, according to the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – which focused its report on the impacts faced by the world’s poorest countries.

Another compounding factor, as reported by daily Phileleftheros, is that Ukraine was a key supplier of chicken while others such as Romania and Poland have either placed barriers to their exports or significantly raised prices – leaving Cypriot importers to turn to south America.

It also stated that 60 per cent of the chicken consumed in Cyprus is imported. Elsewhere, local media reported that a ten-litre container of sunflower oil has risen to €18.