Poles forced to fork out more for Christmas carp as prices soar

For most Poles no Christmas would be complete without carp for dinner, but with prices rising and shopping budgets already stretched by surging inflation, consumers are having to fork out more for their favourite festive fish.

Polish people hold their main celebration on Christmas Eve, with carp the centrepiece of a 12-dish feast that is traditionally meat-free.

While the bottom-feeding lake dweller is considered inedible in parts of the world, in Poland and some other central European countries carp is served cold in jelly as well as fried or baked and has long been seen as a relatively cheap way of feeding a large group of people.

But with inflation in the country in double-digits, fish farm owner Michal Gorski says he has had to raise the price of carp from 18-20 złotys (£3.40-£3.75) per kg in 2021 to 30 złotys (£5.65) this year.

In some supermarkets the price increase has been even bigger, with economist Rafal Mundry pointing to a 75% increase at one major chain at the beginning of December.

“Rearing these carp has got drastically more expensive, it’s grown by 100-150% since last year,” said Gorski in Rembertow, near Warsaw, where he keeps his fish.

With prices rising so steeply, a survey by market research firm Kantar Public cited by Polityka weekly showed that as many as 40% of respondents did not want to buy carp this Christmas.

However, for many shoppers in a central Warsaw market, the festive favourite was indispensable whatever the price.

“I can’t imagine Christmas Eve without carp,” said 44-year-old Ewa Hunkiewicz, a headteacher. “I buy carp no matter how much it costs. It must be on the table.”

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