Prices of major products in the basket of the ordinary Greek household will drop by early 2011. This was the last Minister of Economy and Regional Development Michalis Chrysohoidis’ threat. Essential goods and not only starting from the shampoo Herbal Essences to soup noodle will be reduced by 0.71% to 37.9%. The Minister has drawn a bead on about 661 goods offered in the biggest retail chains in the country. According to the calculations of the ministry, the net effect of the discount action will be that a family of four will save up to 50 euros per month if buying goods from the list.
Over 50% or 347 product types and brands will be reduced by not more than 5%. End-user prices for the other 218 products will be cut by up to 10% and about 96 other goods will become cheaper by over 10%. Only a few are the products the prices of which will be reduced by 20% and 30%. Chrysohoidis stressed that the need to reduce prices is real and shows responsibility and solidarity of state institutions to ordinary people. He added that the Ministry has found supporters in the face of large retail chains and suppliers and dozens of companies have responded to the initiative to reduce prices.
The largest reductions by product categories will be in foodstuffs, followed by personal care products, various types of snacks, meat, water, beer, wine, detergents and cleaning products, cheese, confectionery and soft drinks and juices, etc. Prices reductions will be effective from March next year for all approved products and will be valid throughout 2011. Minister Chrysohoidis announced that this is only the beginning and there will be more reductions in the supermarkets next year and they will be permanent, not promotional.
The economic team at the Ministry believes that the project is more recommendatory in nature as the state institution is unable to oblige any of the companies to introduce new lower prices. The Minister of Economy and Regional Development Michalis Chrysohoidis and the Deputy Minister Dinos Ruvlyas met with 40 representatives of large retail chains and food producers and 36 of them responded to the call for price reductions. Among them are the companies MISKO (spaghetti, noodles, sauces), BOLTON HELLAS, CHIPITA, CRETA FARM, ELBISCO, FRIESLAND CAMPINA, KRAFT FOODS, NESTLE, OPTIMA, PEPSICO-IVI, PROCTER & GAMBLE, MINERVA, Olympos dairy products, IFANDIS sausages and others. Most products prices will reduce the retail chains LIDL – 1150 articles and A/B Vasilopulos that has own production – 359 products of the 365 series. The supermarkets Sklavenitis, Veropoulos and Carrefour will reduce prices of 81 types of products sold in their stores under their label.
"Only a few of the invited did not respond to the call for lower prices," admitted Michalis Chrysohoidis that was known as Minister of Citizens Protection by mid-summer. After George Papandreou’s cabinet restructuring in the autumn Chrysohoidis was named economy minister. His first task was to promise to reduce prices in supermarkets.
Traders and industrialists were unbelieving about the government intervention in fixing the free market prices but the new economy minister did not get down-hearted. Economic experts in the country shared the opinion that the increase of price levels in Greece is due to higher tax rates that were increased several times in the last year and the purchasing power of the Greeks fell significantly. After his first meeting with Michalis Chrysohoidis as the economy minister, the President of the Hellenic Chamber of Industry Dimitris Daskalopoulos stressed that currently the government should focus on supporting and strengthening of operating enterprises. The reduction in commodity prices, which have already taken the burden of higher taxes, will not lead to the desired results.