Food in Estonia sometimes more expensive than in Finland

Erkki Erilaid
Photo: Mihkel Maripuu

A price comparison of Estonian and Finnish food products made by Helsingin Sanomat revealed that food is already more expensive here than in Finland. At the same time, the wages of Estonians amount to only half of those of the Finns.

It is known that Estonia has the fastest inflation in the euro area, and the price level here is no longer significantly lower than in Finland. Apparently, every tourist has already noticed this when visiting Tallinn, HS wrote.

The newspaper compared the prices of food products in the online stores of Finnish and Estonian retail chains, which revealed that some prices are already more expensive in Estonia.

Consumer prices in Estonia rose by 22.7 percent compared with a year ago in July, while the average inflation of euro countries was 8.9 percent. Finland has not yet released its inflation for July, but it was 7.8 percent in June. If in Estonia, according to Eurostat statistics, the price of food went up by 16.4 percent year-on-year in June, the price increase in Finland was 8.7 percent.

Most of the price increase in Estonia can be explained by the higher cost of energy here. The comparison showed that especially dairy products are quite expensive in Estonia, for example cheese can be found in Finland’s Prisma at a price of 6.90 euros per kilogram, while cheese in Selver costs 8.54 euros per kilogram.

Also, a liter of milk in a tetra pack was slightly more expensive in Estonia than in Finland, for example Kotimaista private label low-fat milk cost 0.85 euros in the Prisma online store, while in Estonia Alma milk in Rimi cost 0.99 euros. However, one can find cheaper milk in plastic packaging in Estonia, the price of which was only 0.59 euros in Selver.

However, oat milk, which has recently become very popular among Finns, costs over a euro more in Estonia than in Finland.

The price increase of potatoes has been drastic in both Finland and Estonia. In Finland, the price of potatoes has increased by 137 percent in a year, in Estonia by about 125 percent. While a two-kilogram bag of potatoes cost more than two and a half euros in Estonia, the price in Finnish stores was less than two euros. However, the early potatoes sold in bulk were cheaper in Selver, because one could get them for 0.49 euros per kilo. In the Finnish Prisma online store, the price of a kilogram of summer potatoes was 0.69 euros.

The other familiar products in the kitchen, such as pork and beef, cost approximately the same in Estonia and Finland. The price of fresh fish has risen by 77 percent in Estonia and 47 percent in Finland since May of last year, and thanks to this, salmon, for example, is currently being sold in the neighboring countries at quite similar prices.

According to Rasmus Kattai, head of the department of economic policy and forecasts of the Bank of Estonia, the high price of food is due to the fact that Estonia imports a lot of food products. According to him, imported goods, such as bananas, cost the same in Estonia as in Finland. Also, since Estonia's domestic market is small, the producers have to ask for a higher price in order to make their business profitable.

At the same time, the average income of the Estonians is about half that of Finland. The median income in Estonia was 12,620 euros in 2021, while in Finland it was 25,460 euros. At the same time, the rise in consumer prices in Estonia primarily affects low-income people, whose income is largely spent on energy and gas bills.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the increase in the cost of living accounts for about 25 percent of the consumption of the households of the poorest fifth of Estonia, and this share is the largest among the European countries. For example, in Finland, the increase in costs is only four percent of total consumption