Natalia Shagaida, Head of Agrarian Department at the Gaidar Institute, commented in an interview to Nezavisimaya Gazeta on the news that the share of Russians' spending on food has been steadily increasing, at least for the last two months.

According to “Romir” sociologists, the share of Russians' spending on food has increased by 9 p.p. over the past eight weeks. In the week of July 18 to 24 this indicator reached 31%. Russians are increasing their spending on food despite their real disposable incomes fell by 0.8% year-on-year in Q2 2022 according to Rosstat. Spending on food is rising amid official reports of falling prices for some foodstuffs and makes doubtful the official statistics on near-zero food inflation.

"We encountered a similar picture in the 2020 Surveys, where there was growth in expenditures, meaning a deterioration in the nutrition structure. However, the household surveys showed that the nutrition structure had hardly deteriorated at all by foodstuffs. It seemed back then more logical that the pandemic had significantly reduced people's expenditures on tourism, travel and services. By spending more, households ensured a pre-pandemic level of nutrition," said Natalia Shagaida.

Now there are restrictions as well, the expert says. "It might be that savings in some areas are now also used for foods. However, it will be possible to talk about it with confidence based on observations for 2021 and 2022 (results of the annual observation for 2021 will be available at the end of this August). Then, we will see what they ate, what was the price for food, etc.," concluded the expert.