Green Monday feast to cost 4% more

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Basic items for the Green Monday feast, when people in Cyprus start their fasting with greens, vegetables, salads and grilled molluscs, will cost about 4% more this year, according to a market survey by the Consumer Protection Service.

The survey of 70 most common items, sampled at 77 large and small supermarkets, as well as fruit markets, found a mixed range in prices of fruit and vegetables, with fresh potatoes on average 44% more expensive, from 72c a kilo last year to €1.03 this year.

Jafa oranges have gone up 35% from €1.44 a kilo in 2023 to €1.93 this year, while Merlin oranges are 12% more expensive, from €1.61 to €1.80. Green leaves are up 16% or 5c more than last year, rising from 32c to 37c a bunch, while mushrooms increased 13% from €3.78 to €4.27 a kilo.

On the other hand, the traditional favourites seem to be cheaper this year, with celery roots down 40% from €1.95 to €1.17, khol rabi (kouloumbra) down 53% from €1.77 to 84c a kilo, greenhouse cucumbers are 40% cheaper at €1.99 a kilo from €3.31 last year, white artichokes are 47% less at €1.36 from €2.36, while Maltese artichokes are 42% down from €2.30 to €1.30 a kilo, and tomatoes are 7% cheaper at €2.23 (€2.41 last year).

The basket of Green Monday items includes 13 fruit and vegetables, 10 different types of halva (made from tahini or sesame flour), 20 salads and dips, local black olives and ‘tsakistes’ green olives, 15 types of molluscs (octopus, kalamari, squid, prawns), six bakery items (koulouri, lagana bread, olive bread), two ‘veteran’ wines (Keo Othello and Afames 62) and two different charcoal brands in 5kg bags.

Tahini up 34%

The price changes of halvas ranged from -15% to +5%, salads, dips and relishes were generally more expensive this year, with one tahini brand 34% pricier, a mustard pickle (piccalilli) 30% more expensive and a Greek aubergine salad costing 48% more this year.

Some seafood items were frozen and others were fresh. The price of Pacific octopus was on average 18% higher at €6.49 (€5.50 last year), cleaned cuttlefish (soupia) was found to be 22% more expensive at €9.46 for 800gr (from €7.76), while another brand was 21% cheaper at €6.80 (€8.64).

Following the European trend, black Cyprus olives were on average 8% more expensive at €5.16 a kilo (€4.76), while the ‘cracked’ green tsakistes were found to be 6% dearer at €3.87 (€3.65).

The sampling was conducted on Thursday (March 14) and the Trade Ministry’s Consumer Protection Service warned that the prices in its sample selection are an indicative and that consumers should be vigilant when comparing quality, brands, packaging and shops.