Souvlaki, Greece’s traditional fast food that is popular among Greeks and tourists alike, will soon incur a 10-15 per cent price increase, which could lift its cost up to 3 euros per pitta-wrapped souvlaki, from 1 May, 2019.
The reason for this sudden hike, according to a statement by the Association of Hellenic Meat Processing Industries (SEBEK), is due to the significant rise in the international pork price by 30-32 per cent since the end of February – a cost which the meat industries and souvlaki shop owners can no longer absorb.
“Statistically, every couple of years there is a simultaneous emergence of several factors leading to a pork price increase. Usually the consequences are temporary, and hikes are absorbed by the manufacturing industry and the distribution chain. In this case it is taking longer, and part of the price increase will reach the final consumer,” SEBEK warned.
The Athens Professional Chamber called for talks to ease the impact on consumers, asking for a reduction of taxes.
Nevertheless, there can be no recommendation, let alone imposition, of a horizontal price hike by the union of souvlaki shop owners that is set to be formed, as that would constitute a direct violation of competition law.
“We want to ensure that the quality of the meat is good, so we are now in the process of reviewing some necessary increases, in order to be able to protect our product,” said Mr Giorgos Polyzos, representative of the Association, who also confirmed that all the street food, souvlaki shops selling the product are also expected to implement the increase.
What do Greek Australians think?
Greek Australians appear to be 100 per cent supportive of fellow Greeks and are not at all concerned about the slight price increase.
“I absolutely love the quality of souvlakia in Greece and I would much rather pay a little extra and enjoy them without having to force the people who make them to cut their margin. We work hard and are lucky enough to be in a position to holiday in gorgeous Greece, and if paying a little extra means helping Greek families make a living, then I don’t see any issue with this,” says Greek Australian executive pastry chef George Diakomichalis, who organises tourist groups
from Australia to Greece during the summer months.
“I think that in comparison to Australian prices ($4.71) it’s a relatively cheap meal, so I have no objection. I think food prices will always follow financial trends anywhere, so Greece is no different on that score. I would rather eat first grade takeaway than second grade any day,” says Australian travel writer Paul Hellander who also visits Greece a few times throughout the year.
“From a tourist perspective, 3 euros is still on the cheap side for food, especially of this quality. In Australia you pay $10 plus for a sandwich so I don’t personally see an issue. My only concern is that the Greek citizens with their low wages will suffer with increases in prices more than us visitors or tourists. I guess you can’t compromise on quality either, so if demand for pork is pushing prices up, then we all need to accept that and move on from there,” says government accounting executive Harry Argyriou who also visits Greece on a regular basis.
“I don’t mind paying extra because souvlaki in Greece is still much tastier than here and I don’t feel anyone out there would like to see the quality compromised,” adds immigration agent Zoi Papafilopoulou.