Christmas food shopping impacted as inflation hits Belgian shoppers

As Christmas approaches, Belgians are contemplating the menu for what many consider the most joyful dinner of the year.

But this time round, things are different. Even if inflation decreased to 10.63% in November from 12.27% the month before, shopping is increasingly more difficult for people.

According to Yassim, a dried fruit seller at a market in Brussels, people are not purchasing as much as before.

“I think people are becoming aware that there’s a crisis ongoing and they are reining in their expenses, so, people are buying less," he told Euronews. "If before people were buying 500 grams, now they are buying less than this, for example."

According to Statistics Belgium, the price of food products in Belgium increased by 14.48% compared to 12.30% last month.

But for some typical Christmas table items, the rise is even higher. Seafood, for example, is 16% more expensive and poultry over 20%.

For many, this is certainly felt in the wallet and can mean making sacrifices at the Christmas table.

“We will do the usual, like every Christmas...Ok, maybe about bio-organic food, now you have second thoughts before buying it,” one man told Euronews.

“It’s not something too huge, but in the lump sums, you can feel it [the price increases]. A little bit here, a little bit there…and when you leave the supermarket and you see the bill, yes, you can feel it."

According to surveys made by some of the larger supermarket chains, 75% of Belgians say they will celebrate a “more frugal” Christmas this year, paying more attention to which products are costlier.

“I’d say all the 'luxury products' [cost more]," another shopper explained. "If you want to buy fish or meat, they have been increasing I think, but also fresh vegetables and exotic fruits changed a little bit too, and also cheese is more expensive than before."

Everyday food, like bread, flour and dairy products are also among some of the products increasing in price the most.