The average prices of supermarket goods have recorded their highest increase since 2012, rising by 2.1 per cent in 2022, according to an annual survey conducted by the city’s consumer watchdog.

File Photo: Wikimedia.

The Consumer Council has released its latest report on supermarket prices in Hong Kong, comparing the prices of 260 popular items from three major supermarket chains between 2021 and 2022. According to the report, the average price of supermarket goods rose by 2.1 per cent in 2022, which is the largest increase since 2012.

The report found that 10 of the 13 categories of products surveyed recorded an increase, with staple grain and oil products experiencing the highest increase at 5.4 per cent. They were followed by cereals and seasoning, and canned food at 4.8 per cent and 4.6 per cent, respectively. Instant drinks also saw a rise of 4.3 per cent.

Nearly 70 per cent of the products included in the survey saw an increase in price. Butter, tea bags, and cheese saw the highest increases of 15.4 per cent, 11.7 per cent, and 10.2 per cent, respectively. Cooking oil also saw an increase of over 10per cent. The category with the largest price drop was wine, with a decrease of 5.1 per cent.

In terms of personal care products, the average price fell by 2 per cent, with shampoo, shower gel and hand soap, as well as women’s sanitary products, recording price drops of between 1.9 per cent and 4.3 per cent. Toothpaste and toothbrushes saw an average price increase of 7 per cent, however, with four brands recording price increases ranging from 0.1 per cent to 23.7 per cent.

At various times during the Covid-19 pandemic, Hong Kong experienced panic buying, with rumours of a citywide lockdown causing residents to rush to buy masks and supermarket goods.

ParknShop, one of the surveyed chain supermarkets, responded to the Consumer Council, claiming that it had absorbed cost increases and offered promotions to customers, adding that it had recorded smaller average price increases overall.

Two other supermarkets, Wellcome and AEON, told the council that they had offered various discounts and promotions to help customers save money. AEON said it was committed to working with its partners to reduce procurement costs and mitigate the impact of rising costs on customers.

Consumer Council Gilly Wong
File Photo: Consumer Council.

The annual report indicated a higher price surge than the 1.9 per cent increase recorded by the government’s statistics department. 

“Some product categories had an average increase of over 10 per cent, including essential household items such as cooking oil and breakfast foods like butter and cheese,” the consumer council said, urging the public to shop wisely.

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Lea Mok is a multimedia reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously contributed to StandNews, The Initium, MingPao and others. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.