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Everything but fruit and veg is more expensive in Belgium, says Eurostat

Jun 15, 2017

Just about every product on the market is cheaper in Belgium's neighbouring countries, leading many Belgians to shop across the border, reports De Standaard based on new figures from Eurostat.

The figures reveal that food and drink is, on average, more than 10% cheaper in the Netherlands than in Belgium. Shopping in Germany is more than 5% cheaper. The differences per product category vary significantly. Bread, for example, is nearly 18% cheaper in the Netherlands. Fish and meat are 7% and 13% cheaper, respectively. Milk, cheese and eggs are also much cheaper over the northern border. But most dairy products are even cheaper in Germany, according to Eurostat.

For non-alcoholic drinks, many Belgians head to France, where prices are 11% lower. Alcoholic beverages are also cheaper in France, and cheaper still in Germany. Belgians are also known to shop in Germany for cheap clothes and electronics, and in France for shoes and furniture. Shopping in Luxembourg is not economical compared to the five countries surveyed, except when it comes to tobacco and fuel.

There is only one product category in which Belgium has the lowest prices compared to its neighbouring countries: vegetables, fruit and potatoes. These are almost a fifth more expensive in France. Fruit and vegetables are also a lot more expensive in Germany and Luxembourg.

Higher labour costs and higher prices charged by international suppliers to Belgian warehouses are frequently cited reasons for Belgium's more costly goods.

Due to the price differences, more Belgians are shopping abroad. According to the retail federation, if the billions of euros spent abroad were spent in Belgium, the country could create up to 11,000 jobs, or even 20,000 jobs including online sales.

Anon2 Jun 16, 2017 09:57

Imo, one of the main reasons why prices are so much higher (sometimes even dramatically higher) in Belgium is because other countries have competitive pricing, but Belgium only has price-fixing.

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