VIDEO: Czech PM goes shopping in Bavaria, finds that German groceries are cheaper

During an earlier visit to Karlovy Vary, Fiala decided to pop into Bavaria to buy some basic items, leading to a surprising (and saddening) discovery.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 06.11.2023 16:58:00 (updated on 06.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prime Minister Petr Fiala has uploaded a video showing his visit to the Bavarian border town of Waldsassen to do some basic grocery shopping, ultimately finding that many items in the neighboring country were cheaper than at home.

Exact same items are cheaper in Germany

A video posted on social media site X shows the prime minister walking into a German supermarket and buying tomatoes, eggs, milk, bread, Nutella, Coca-Cola, and chocolate. “The purchase cost less than EUR 20 (CZK 488)," Fiala told journalists.

He then entered a Czech store on the other side of the border, only to find that “a purchase in the Czech Republic is over CZK 60 more expensive than an identical purchase in Germany. Practically identical products from the same producers are simply pricier,” he said.

"Food prices, thanks to pressure from our government, have finally started to fall, but on the other hand, many of you write to me that it is still worth shopping abroad," said Fiala on social media network X before announcing his idea to visit both supermarkets. He did this as part of question-and-answer sessions run by him.

Even German packaging is bigger

However, Fiala made a second discovery. Not only are the same products cheaper in Germany, but the country also offers larger packaging. 

GERMAN VS CZECH PRICES

  • Coca-Cola (1 liter): CZK 29.4 in Germany vs CZK 32.9 in Czechia
  • Loaf of white bread (500g): CZK 46 vs CZK 51
  • Tomatoes (1 kilogram): CZK 41 vs CZK 76
  • Bottled water (1.5 liter): CZK 14.8 vs CZK 18.2
  • Mid-range bottle of wine: CZK 121 vs CZK 140

    Sources: Petr Fiala's visit to Germany, Numbeo. EUR converted to CZK (6/11/2023)

AGENCY PROPERTIES

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"The difference with Nutella is very significant. The two packages look similar at first glance, [but] the Czech one is actually smaller. And the price of a Nutella pot in Czechia is almost double compared to Germany," Fiala calculated, adding that he paid CZK 113.30 for 750 grams in Germany and CZK 169.90 for 600 grams in his own country.

Not the government’s fault that Czechs suffer, Fiala says

At the end of the video, Fiala takes rather a defensive stance. He states that the government does not control pricing, but producers and traders do. However, he mentioned that he wanted to contact the manufacturers of the goods that he purchased in Czechia, and get an explanation for the products’ higher prices.

What makes matters worse for people living in Czechia is the gulf in average salaries between Germany and Czechia. Figures from this year show German (gross) average monthly salaries at around EUR 3,653 (CZK 89,000), compared to about CZK 41,200 in Czechia.

A similar story in Poland

People living in the north and east of Czechia also frequently visit Poland for cheaper supermarket prices, which – partly due to the Polish government’s 2022 abolition of value-added tax on food – can be up to 30 percent cheaper.

A separate study revealed that at the Polish Lidl, 1 kilogram of flour is priced at CZK 9.60, butter at CZK 30, and a box of milk at CZK 10. In contrast, Czech Lidl sells these same food items at considerably higher prices: flour is 86 percent pricier, butter costs 30 percent more, and milk is far more than double in price.

Although inflation in Czechia is easing, still-high supermarket price alongside a drop in real wages has led thousands to leave their own country just to buy groceries.

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