November 30, 2015 FPI | ISET’s Retail Food Price Index Is One Year Old (and Stable)
30 November 2015

In the last two weeks of November, Retail FPI decreased by 0.3%. Prices increased in the fruit and vegetable category. Grape price increased by 47%, tomatoes by 17.3%, and eggplant by 12%. Unlike other fruits, tangerines, which are late to arrive at the market, went down in price by more than 30%.

When looked at from an annual perspective (November 2015 vs. November 2014), on average, retail food prices demonstrate remarkable stability.

Thus, the Retail FPI for November 2015 is only 0.4% higher than last year. Of course, some products went up in price while others became cheaper. The former category includes meat, dairy products, and vegetables (up by 2%, 3%, and 4%, respectively). In the latter category are fruits (down 5%) and cereals, such as rice and buckwheat, which lost about 10% in their prices.

Price stability is the result of several factors working in the opposite direction and canceling each other. On the one hand, the Georgian Lari depreciated by more than 30% since November 2015, applying upward pressure on the GEL prices of imported food products. On the other hand, world food prices, as measured by FAO’s Food Price Index, decreased by more than 22%, from 191.3 in November 2014 to 156.7 in November 2015, reducing the pressure on prices.

In addition, the past year has seen very strong development in the food retail sector, increasing competition and reducing profit margins to the benefit of the Georgian consumers. Carrefour alone has just opened two new branches in Tbilisi, including a giant new hypermarket in the EastPoint, and a supermarket in Isani, the latest addition to its network. The four retail networks covered by our Retail Food Price Index survey currently have a total of 60 branches in Tbilisi: Fresco – 7 branches, Goodwill – 2, SPAR - 46 (including the smaller Foodmart and Ioli supermarkets); Carrefour - 2 hypermarkets and 3 supermarkets.