RETAIL PRICES OF SELECTED FOOD ITEMS
In the Inquiry information is requested with respect to the month of October on the national average retail prices for as many as possible of 93 items of food and drink. If national averages are not available, average prices are provided separately for up to three major towns or regions. The prices reported are, as far as possible, those used regularly for calculating consumer price indices. They also refer to the normal retail prices actually paid by the consumer, including any related taxes, such as sales taxes or value-added taxes.
Detailed descriptions of the items are supplied along with the Inquiry questionnaire, to help respondents to identify the survey items, and also to ensure, to the extent possible, that prices are reported for the same items each year and to facilitate the international comparability of the results. The descriptions include suggested pricing units, that is, the weight, volume or number of each item for which the price should be reported. For four items (9. Wheat bread: (d) other; 30. Fish, fresh (a), (b) and (c); 38. Cheese: (c) other; 45. Salad or cooking oil) countries are asked to specify the particular variety.
The table O2 presents the data supplied by countries with respect to October, and wherever available, since 1985.
Prices are expressed in national currency. In the tables, the currency shown next to the country name is the current one. In case of change of currency in a country, the equivalence between the old and new currencies is indicated by a footnote on the relevant year.
Any differences between the item specifications used in the Inquiry and the items actually priced in the various countries are indicated in footnotes. Where applicable, the varieties of the four items mentioned above are given in Appendix II (Bread - Cheese - Oil or Fish). In this connection, it should be noted that the varieties for which prices are shown may vary from year to year.
In general, the prices reported are the averages of those collected during the regular pricing programmes of the national statistical offices and used for the calculation of consumer price indices. Certain countries have, however, carried out special pricing for some items which are not normally covered in these programmes.
A table showing the sources of the data published in the last edition of the printed publication and the relevant national publications is given in Appendix III.
Although pricing units are proposed in the annex to the questionnaire, the national practices tend to vary in this respect, not only because the quantities and types of packaging differ, but also because of the different national units of measure used. Thus, where necessary, the Office has converted the prices reported so as to conform with standard metric quantities for publication.
Care should be taken when using and interpreting the published data, particularly for international comparisons. Although every effort has been made to promote the comparability and consistency of the results, there are some unavoidable differences between the item specifications, the reference periods and the methods of price collection. As much information as possible has been provided in footnotes and in Appendix II, which should be taken into account by users.
Although desirable, it has not been possible to avoid the use of abbreviations and symbols in the tables.