Prices for milk, cheese and eggs in Ireland were 25% higher than the EU27 average last year (2021), according to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (Wednesday, June 29).

In its 2021 Food Price Levels report, the CSO reported that in terms of food prices, Ireland was the second most expensive country in the eurozone in 2021 and the third most expensive EU member state.

Apart from fish, which was 3% lower, prices for food, beverages, alcohol and tobacco were all higher here than the EU27 average. Oils and fats followed dairy products, at 22% higher than the average, while breads and cereals came next at 20% more expensive.

Switzerland was the most expensive country in the euro area in terms of food prices, while Turkey was ranked the cheapest. It was also the cheapest country to purchase tobacco and non-alcoholic beverages in.

Comparison to previous statistics

Ireland was ranked as the eighth most expensive country for milk, cheese and eggs in 2021, with Iceland recorded as the dearest and Poland as the cheapest.

Recorded as the 11th most expensive member state in relation to meat prices, Ireland has moved up three places in the rankings since 2018, when it was ranked as the 14th most expensive country for meat in the EU27.

The prices of oils and fats have also risen significantly in Ireland over this time period as the country moved from the 22nd most expensive in 2018 to the 11th most expensive.

As well as this, prices of breads and cereals have jumped, with Ireland coming in as the eighth most expensive country in this category last year, versus its position of tenth in the previous records.

The only categories where Ireland moved to a cheaper ranking were fruit, vegetables and potatoes, and fish, when Ireland moved from eighth place to sixth, and twelfth to eighteenth respectively.

Alcohol and tobacco

Ireland was the most expensive of the 36 countries surveyed in 2021, with tobacco prices 145% higher than the EU27 average. Turkey was the least expensive for tobacco, at 74% below the EU27 average. 

While Ireland was the fourth dearest country for alcoholic drinks, Iceland was the most expensive country surveyed for this category, with prices 186% above the average.

In contrast, North Macedonia was the cheapest country, with drink prices 19% below the average.