Swedes devote lower % of budget to food than EU average

Swedish households spend a smaller proportion of their consumer consumption on food than most EU citizens.
Swedish households spend a smaller proportion of their consumer consumption on food than most EU citizens.

Higher food prices have hit Swedish households hard. But Swedes still spend a smaller proportion of their consumption on food than most EU citizens. And much less than we have done historically.

Ekonomi 27 mars 2023 11:06

A Swedish household spends 15.3 percent of its expenses on food and non-alcoholic beverages.

The average in the EU is 17.3 percent, according to the Union's statistical authority Eurostat's latest harmonized consumer price index, HICP, for 2023, based on 2022 consumption.

Among the member countries, only households in Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland spend a smaller part of their total consumption on food and drink than in Sweden.

Indicator of prosperity

– What proportion of income and consumption households spend on food is usually an indicator of prosperity, says John Eliasson, price statistician at Statistics Norway, Statistics Sweden.

– In poorer countries, people usually spend a larger part of their total consumption on food.

Mattias Persson, Swedbank's chief economist, admits that he is surprised by the figures, but emphasizes that Swedish households will be increasingly forced to spend a greater part of their consumption on food.

–In real terms, Swedish households have already been forced to change their consumption radically. They have cut back on clothes, shoes, and other household goods in order in many cases to be able to continue consuming what is necessary, such as food, electricity and mortgages, he says.

An average household spends a large share of the total consumption in each EU country.

– If we look ahead, we believe that food prices will continue to rise for a while longer, and that more and more of the consumption will have to go to essential goods such as food.

According to Statistics Sweden's CPI basket, which measures the extent to which Swedish households consume various goods and services, food and non-alcoholic beverages account for 13.3 percent of total consumption.

Their statistical tool differs from Eurostat's, where ownership of housing is not included and thus not interest costs linked to housing.

Statistics Sweden has figures on the development of the consumer basket that go back seven decades. The statistics show a gradual decrease in the share of food in total consumption.

In 1950, food and drink made up 30 percent of the basket; In 1990, before Sweden's entry into the EU, the consumer basket consisted of just over 15 percent of food – a level that has been more or less intact since then, with a couple of percentage point declines in the following two decades.

EU % spending on food

EU: 17.3 percent

Euro area: 16.1

Sweden: 15.3

Belgium: 15.5

Bulgaria: 23.9

Cyprus: 17.4

Denmark: 13.7

Estonia: 21.3

Finland: 15.2

France: 16.2

Greece: 20.3

Ireland: 11.2

Italy: 18.1

Croatia: 22.1

Latvia: 26.3

Lithuania: 22.1

Luxembourg: 11.6

Malta: 17.7

Netherlands: 14.9

Poland: 20.6

Portugal: 20.6

Romania: 30.6

Slovakia: 26.3

Slovenia: 18.3

Spain: 19.5

Czech Republic: 21.2

Germany: 13.2

Hungary: 21.4

Austria: 12.1

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