Shelling out a fortune: Easter egg prices rise by up to 200% in just a year
By Nazia Parveen
PUBLISHED: 21:45, 4 April 2012 | UPDATED: 22:25, 4 April 2012
If you have yet to buy your Easter eggs, you may be in for a nasty shock.
Some of the treats have as much as trebled in price over the past year thanks to growing uncertainty in the cocoa bean markets and claims supermarkets are unfairly hiking prices.
Cadbury’s medium Creme Egg has increased from £1 to £3 at Sainsbury’s in just a year, along with its popular Dairy Milk Caramel Egg and Flake Egg.
At Tesco, the Creme Egg has increased from £1 in 2011 to £2.50 this year and its own brand 200g Milk Chocolate Egg Hunt Bag doubled in price from £1 to £2, according to research carried out by the grocery shopping site mySupermarket.co.uk.
At Sainsbury’s, the Kinnerton Hello Kitty Egg and Buttons have trebled in a year to £3.
Consumers are being urged to shop around due to wild price differences across various chains. The price rises have been blamed on supermarkets but there are also fears of a global cocoa bean shortage following a drought in the Ivory Coast, which produces 40 per cent of the world’s supply.
A huge increase in demand in the Chinese market will also add to the shortages, meaning prices could increase even further by next Easter.
Wholesale cocoa prices have actually fallen this year because the quality of beans produced after the Ivory Coast drought is so poor. However, it’s believed manufacturers are having to rely on their existing stocks of better quality beans.
James Foord, spokesman for mySupermarket.co.uk, said: ‘Although cocoa prices have fallen over the past two years, Easter egg prices have continued to rise, partly due to the effects of inflation on chocolate brands’ businesses.’
But manufacturers say supermarkets are to blame for the price rise as the wholesale price of eggs had only risen by a small amount. Referring to its Smarties egg, which has increased in price by 40 per cent at Tesco, Nestlé said the recommended price this year was £5.59 — £1.41 less than the Tesco price.
A Cadbury spokesman claimed that market information showed that the price of eggs had actually dropped over the past 15 years with an egg that cost £3 in 1997 now priced at £1.60.
But he agreed that supermarkets had the responsibility for setting the retail price of eggs. He added: ‘While we sell our eggs direct to trade customers, it is the shopkeeper who sets the price the public pays.’
A Tesco spokesman said: ‘Offers in store mean that the average price of many of our Easter eggs has actually fallen over the past two years. However, chocolate is only part of the overall cost and in some cases transport and packaging have become more expensive.’