No need to get salty, Latvian retailers assure public

Following the imposition of sanctions on Russia and Belarus, as well as the Ukrainian decision to ban exports of some food groups, stores have observed a spike in demand for foods with a long shelf life, especially salt. Retailers surveyed by regional television ReTV on March 8 say Latvia is not short of salt.

In one of the largest supermarkets in Jelgava, shop employees are rushing to replenish flour and cereals on the shelf. The salt shelf is empty. Customers surveyed by ReTV, though, said that they were not stocking up.

A similar scene also appears in other grocery stores. In some places, baking soda has also been sold out. Shop network Maxima spokeswoman Liene Dupate-Ugule said demand had increased, but there was no cause for concern.

“In parallel, we have other suppliers who provide a different type of salt. Some goods are demanded more, especially those that cost a little cheaper, but we continue to work,” she said.

The Latvian salt trading company told ReTv that salt 'is, was and will be', but the company had not been prepared for triple demand in stores.

The company's chief executive, Ilmārs Krivads, said: “Of course, it is not possible to purchase salt raw materials from Ukraine at the moment. It is also not possible to purchase from Belarus, but we have switched over and already ordered from Poland, Germany, and Turkey."

The fighting in Ukraine has also affected the range of pharmacy goods. The production of Ukraine, Russia or Belarus was, however, only a few percent of the total. Mainly medical products and food supplements.

Kristīne Jučkoviča, executive director of the Latvian Pharmaceutical Care Association, said: “It will mostly be possible to find a replacement, and indeed I call that pharmacist be trusted as a professional, they will recommend replacing a food supplement if necessary because the range of pharmacy products really consists of units produced in many countries.”

At the same time, specialists acknowledged that price increases will be felt for all goods, including fuel and gas, in the coming months.

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