Stabbiltà Initiative – FAQs

What led to this initiative?

In response to unprecedented global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine War, Middle East conflicts, and the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, businesses and families worldwide, including ours, have faced economic uncertainties. Despite these challenges, the Maltese Government has steadfastly supported citizens and businesses with various measures, including subsidies, aid schemes, and stimulus cheques. Despite these efforts, food price-related inflation reached 7.5% in November 2023. This initiative aims to combat inflation, ensuring the resilience and competitiveness of the Maltese economy.

How will this initiative work?

To maintain stability in essential food prices, the Government, through the Ministry for the Economy, has collaborated with major food importers and sellers. An agreement has been reached for a nine-month period starting February 1, 2024, ensuring stable prices and a minimum 15% reduction in Recommended Retail Price (RRP) for 15 food categories most susceptible to inflation.

Is the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) the price at which I buy from a shop?

The RRP is set by importers and passed on to retailers. However, retailers may choose to stick to or lower this price based on various factors.

Is the 15% discount on the price or on the Recommended Retail Price?

The 15% discount is on the Recommended Retail Price as of October 31, 2023.

If there’s a 15% reduction in RRP, shouldn’t prices drop by 15%?

The reduction depends on various factors, and while some products may see a full 15% drop, others, already priced below RRP, may have a lower percentage reduction.

When will this initiative start?

The initiative starts on February 1, 2024.

How long will it last?

The agreement lasts until the Government announces the Budget for 2025, providing stability for over nine months.

Will all food products be affected?

No, only 15 specific categories have been identified, covering over 400 products. Efforts are made to extend benefits to other categories.

So which are the discounted products?

15 categories of food products were identified as the ones which are most susceptible to inflation and consumed the most (staple foods) by the local population, and following extensive discussions between the Government and the importers and the retailers, an agreement was reached to lower their RRP by a minimum of 15% and to keep their RRP stable. The categories reflect also the most widely used products and which have a significant impact on those with low and medium income. We have made sure to include a wide range of products to suit the tastes of as many consumers as possible.

 

The agreed categories are as follows:

 

1 Corned beef, full fat, light and reduced salt, in all sizes
2 Cornflakes in packets or bags
3 Cream Crackers in all sizes
4 Fresh and frozen minced/ground beef and/or minced/ground pork and/or a combination of both, in packets
5 Packed fresh and frozen pork chops
6 Frozen raw chicken legs, both packed and in loose form/by weight, and fresh packed
7 Frozen raw whole chicken, both packed and in loose form/by weight, and fresh packed
8 Frozen peas, broccoli and spinach in bags of all sizes (excluding organic)
9 Imported Black tea bags of all sizes
10 Instant coffee including decaff in all sizes
11 Skipjack tuna in vegetable, soya or sunflower oil in tins of 70g to 200g (excluding skipjack and yellowfin tuna in brine and in olive oil )
12 Standard, low fat and reduced salt vegetable spreads in tubs or foil
13 Straight cut frozen friable french fries in bags of all sizes
14 UHT milk: Skimmed, Semi-Skimmed and Whole in cartons or bottles of all sizes
15 Wheat spaghetti and penne in packets of all sizes

How many products will have a price reduction?

Over 400 products are estimated to be positively affected.

Aren’t we encouraged to buy fresh and local?

While local products are encouraged, some categories include both local and imported items, and transport costs impact imported products.

Are there benefits for those with food intolerance?

People with Celiac Disease can already apply for vouchers for gluten-free food, ranging from €65 to €70 per month.

How do I know where to find discounted products?

The ekonomija.gov.mt website will provide a list of participating establishments, and discounted products will be labeled accordingly.

Does the discount apply to specific brands?

The discount applies to every brand within the specified category.

Why were products sold at higher prices before this initiative?

Products were sold at market prices, and participating businesses are temporarily reducing their mark-up as a form of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Does this initiative apply to online purchases?

Yes, it applies to both in-store and online purchases.

Does this mean we were being robbed before?

No, prices reflected market rates. This initiative is a temporary measure to benefit consumers.

Are all shops part of this initiative?

Efforts are made to involve as many importers and retailers as possible. Small businesses are encouraged to join.

How can small shops participate?

Smaller shops can apply through a dedicated form on ekonomija.gov.mt starting January 18, 2024, with a fixed grant introduced for compensation.

Can all consumers benefit?

Yes, there are no eligibility criteria. All consumers can benefit from discounted and stable prices.

Could this lead to price hikes in other products?

The government will monitor for abusive behaviors and ensure fair practices through its authorities.

How can I submit a complaint?

Complaints can be made by calling Freephone 153 or sending an email to stabbilta@gov.mt.

Can shops offer a discount higher than 15%?

Yes, retailers can offer higher discounts if they choose to do so.

What happens after the initiative expires?

Inflation is expected to subside over the next 10 months, and the government will closely monitor progress and continue supporting the population.

Can I participate in the Stabbiltà Initiative if not all of my importers have joined?

Absolutely! We welcome your participation in the Stabbiltà initiative. However, it’s important to note that the terms and conditions of the initiative specifically apply to products under the categories associated with participating importers. As the initiative is based on a 15% discount on the Recommended Retail Price (RRP), only products from importers who have joined the initiative fall under this discount structure.

While we encourage you to embody the spirit of the Stabbiltà initiative by extending the discount to all your products, your official participation is limited to those specific products within the categories of participating importers. We strongly recommend initiating a dialogue with your importer before deciding to join the initiative to ensure alignment and clarity.

How is the 15% reduction in the RRP to be shared between the Importer and the Retailer?

To achieve the 15% reduction in the Recommended Retail Price, a collaborative effort is undertaken by importers and retailers. This reduction is balanced to ensure fair impact on both parties. Specifically, it involves a 4.4 point decrease in the Retailer’s margin and the remainder covered by the Importer. For example, if a retailer has a 25% margin, they would deduct 4.4 points, resulting in a new margin of 20.6%. The rest of the contribution comes from the importer. This approach ensures an equitable distribution of the RRP reduction.