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EXPLAINED: The everyday items getting more expensive in Switzerland

A combination of inflation, poor weather and the Covid pandemic are already putting upward pressure on the prices for everyday products. Here are some which look set to rise in 2022.

A cup of coffee next to a notebook sitting on a wooden table
Coffee is set to go up in price in 2022, along with a range of other items. Photo: Pixabay

Why are prices on the rise? 

Switzerland’s stable and robust economy has generally been resistant to inflation, particularly when compared with other wealthy countries. 

READ MORE: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?

That said, inflation is on the rise – and there are fears it could get worse. 

In summer, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs warned that “a strong development in [consumer] demand could go hand in hand with capacity bottlenecks and have an inflationary effect.”

In October 2021, Switzerland’s inflation rate rose by 0.3 percent to 1.2 percent, notes the Federal Statistical Office. This is the highest figure since August 2018 and the equal highest monthly increase at any time over the past decade. 

Since the end of 2020, there has been a cumulative rise in inflation of 1.6 percent. 

READ MORE: How to protect your savings against inflation in Switzerland

But inflation is not the only reason behind a real rise in prices for several items. 

The poor weather seen across the country in summer 2021 has led to a lower than average harvest, which has led to a lack of supply in several items. 

The ever-present impact of climate change has seen this not just limited to Switzerland, meaning that import prices are also high – even for goods Switzerland doesn’t produce itself. 

The final reason – and seemingly the reason behind everything recently – is Covid. Covid has impacted supply chains, manufacturing capacity and global demand, which then leads to a rise in prices. 

What is set to increase? 

Coffee

The cost of Switzerland’s favourite beverage is set to rise in the coming months, with experts estimating coffee in cafes or bakeries will increase by between five and ten percent. 

The main reason for this is the lingering impact of the Covid lockdown, which has hit hospitality businesses hard. A consequence of this is that prices look set to climb. 

This is likely to be around 20 to 25 cents for most cups of coffee. While it might not sound like much, for daily drinkers this could be up to ten francs a month. 

According to Cafetiersuisse, coffee will get more expensive across the country, but the highest increases will be seen in the German-speaking part of the country, where coffee is already more expensive than in Latin Switzerland. 

READ MORE: How to drink coffee like the Swiss

Our daily bread (and cakes and pastries etc etc) to get pricier

A hike in grain prices will see baked goods become more expensive in Switzerland in 2022. 

Baked goods will rise by around 15 percent on average, with bakeries, bakery chains and larger supermarkets all expected to raise prices. 

Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes put together a summary of how things will look in 2022. 

Croissants will cost CHF1.70 on average, while cream slices (Cremeschnitte) will cost CHF4.80. 

The Swiss Association of Bakers and Confectioners (SBC) told Switzerland’s Sonntagzeitung newspaper that it had issued a recommendation to raise prices between five and 15 percent. 

Furniture

An increase in wood prices will see furniture costs climb in 2022, while delays are also forecast – particularly for people who order custom furniture. 

One consequence of the Covid pandemic has been an increase in renovations and home carpentry, which has led to a shortage of timber. 

Swedish furniture chain Ikea said it expected increases in the cost of many different furniture items, although it was difficult to say how much prices would increase by in Switzerland or elsewhere as a consequence. 

Swiss franc coins stacked together

What is set to get more expensive in Switzerland this year – and by how much? Image: Pixabay

Inflation

In October 2021, Switzerland’s inflation rate rose by 0.3 percent to 1.2 percent, notes the Federal Statistical Office. This is the highest figure since August 2018 and the equal highest monthly increase at any time over the past decade.

Inflation in 2022 is expected to average 1.1 percent across the whole year. While this is high by Swiss standards, it is much lower than most other countries. 

How to protect your savings against inflation in Switzerland

First class at second class prices

Switzerland’s SBB has announced a range of new first class upgrades at a fraction of the normal cost. Some first class upgrades are actually cheaper than a point-to-point ticket. 

“The primary goal is to make better use of trains that are under-utilised,” said Thomas Ammann, spokesman for the public transport industry organisation Alliance Swisspass.

As the promotion is designed to prevent trains from being under-utilised, it tends to work on a spontaneous basis – i.e. you may not be able to upgrade your travel for the next year. 

The ‘spur of the moment’ promotion “allows you to travel in 1st class on one route or for one day” the SBB said. 

More information is available at the following link. 

Train travel: How you can save on first class upgrades in Switzerland

No discrimination by online stores abroad

Good news for people who like to purchase goods on the Internet: from January 1st, Swiss customers will no longer be denied access to foreign online shopping platforms.

Currently, anyone in Switzerland who tries to access the “.de” or “.fr” version of a merchant site, is automatically redirected to a Swiss sales portal where the merchandise is more expensive. But from January 1st, the law will ban geo-blocking on the internet in this area, a rule in force in the EU since 2018.

No more subsidies for gluten free kids

From January 2022, Switzerland will remove a subsidy payment made to children who cannot eat gluten.

The payments are made to families with children who have celiac disease, which means they cannot consume foods with gluten such as pasta and bread.

The government has come under fire for the removal, with critics saying it places undue pressure on poorer families with children.

READ MORE: Switzerland under fire for cutting payments for gluten free children

Postage costs

Sending letters will get a tad more expensive in Switzerland as of 2022, with Swiss Post increasing prices by up to ten cents per letter. The last time prices were increased was in 2004, 18 years ago.

Prices for sending A-Mail letters will increase by ten cents per letter, while B-Mail will go up by five cents.

Prices for sending packages will remain the same, Swiss Post has promised.

Swiss Post say the increases are necessary due to the decline in the amount of post being sent in Switzerland, which is roughly half of that being sent when prices were last increased just under 20 years ago.

READ MORE: Swiss Post to increase mail prices for first time in 18 years

Postboxes to cost 120 CHF

Swiss Post are also increasing the cost of Post Office boxes

Anyone who wants a PO box will now need to pay 120CHF per year. 

This is a significant increase as the boxes are currently free. 

Electricity prices

The cost of electricity will increase slightly for households in 2022, according the Federal Electricity Commission ElCom.

A typical household will pay 21.2 cents per kilowatt hour (ct./kWh) next year, which corresponds to an increase of 0.7 ct / kWh, or 3 percent.

The new cost consists of the tariffs for the use of the network, the tariffs for energy, the charges payable to public authorities, and the surcharge levied on the grid.

READ MORE: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?

Fuel prices: More expensive petrol

Despite Switzerland’s rejection of a referendum to curb CO2 emissions, petrol prices still look set to climb in 2022. 

Currently, everyone who fills their tank pays 1.5 cents per litre for climate protection initiatives. This is set to increase to five cents per litre at the end of 2021 due to the expiration of a subsidy for motorists. 

As at late December, this looks set to come into effect at the start of 2022. While the right-wing Swiss people’s party have indicated an opposition to the measure, it has won more widespread favour among the Swiss government. 

Unless a change is passed soon, Swiss residents can expect to pay a little more at the pump in 2022

READ MORE: Where in Switzerland can you find the cheapest fuel?

Basel to put in place minimum wage

In June 2021, Basel City voted via referendum to put in place a minimum wage. While unions wanted a standard of CHF23 – which would equal Geneva’s standard as the highest in the world – voters accepted a government counter proposal of CHF21. 

The standard is expected to be implemented in early 2022, although an exact date is as yet unclear. 

Five Swiss cantons now have a minimum standard, although Basel City is the first German speaking canton to have such a rule in place. 

Reader question: Which Swiss canton has the highest minimum wage?

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FOOD & DRINK

REVEALED: Which city has Switzerland’s cheapest beer?

Anyone looking for a cheap pint in Switzerland is likely to struggle no matter where they are, but there are still good deals to be had for a cold, frosty one.

REVEALED: Which city has Switzerland’s cheapest beer?

Some research carried out in Switzerland is more important to consumers than others.  

This one definitely fits under the ‘news you can use’ category.

A recent survey conducted by consumer website Hellosafe compared the price of a half a litre of beer in 29 cities in different cantons.

The prices come from 2022 and have incorporated recent spikes in cost for beer producers. 

READ MORE: Seven beers to try in Switzerland

Where is Switzerland’s cheapest beer? 

The study found that one of the cheapest pints, at 5.22 francs, can be had in Aarau, followed by Bern  (5.92).

While it is one of the world’s most expensive cities, a big mug of beer in Zurich costs “only”  6.96 francs, four cents less than in another relatively inexpensive location, the Valais capital of Sion.

Where is Switzerland’s most expensive pint of beer? 

Beer lovers in the west of Switzerland would be better off sticking to wine, with French-speaking Switzerland charging the most when it comes to beer anywhere in the country. 

The priciest half-litres are in Geneva (7.72 francs) and Lausanne (7.96).

Reader question: Can you drink in public in Switzerland?

Next on the list are Basel and Davos, which may appear to have very little in common with each other besides beer costing CHF7.03 per pint. 


What does the future hold? 

The study also looked ahead at how the war in Ukraine is likely to increase the cost of cereals used to manufacture beer, impacting the price of the end product.

Grain prices in Switzerland are expected to rise by 4 percent per tonne by the end of 2022, which will see price increases in several parts of the country. 

Accordingly, the price of a pint in Lausanne could increase by 32 cents and reach CHF 8.28. 

If Hellosafe’s estimates are correct, then the price of beer will increase the least in Olten, Langenthal, Chur and Arbon.

Beer in Switzerland

While Switzerland may be known internationally more for wine, beer has seen a strong surge in interest in recent years – particularly since the pandemic. 

Switzerland now boasts the highest density of breweries anywhere in Europe, with the Covid crisis a major factor in transforming the country into a beer hub. 

READ MORE: How the Covid crisis led to a boom in Swiss beer production

In 2020, 80 new breweries were established in Switzerland. 

Switzerland now has 1,212 breweries – which gives it a higher ratio of breweries to people than any of the other big brewing nations in Europe, including Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Belgium. 

Just ten years ago, Switzerland had only 246 breweries, while in 1990 there were only 32 breweries in the entire country, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports. 

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