Tonight’s dinner is around RD$6,000 (USD $103) for an average family in the Dominican Republic
Food purchases in markets and supermarkets created large road blockages and crowding without proper protocols for Covid-19.
Santo Domingo, DR
The prices of the Christmas gummies made three women in the supermarket aisle laugh as they bought the ingredients for the Christmas dinner. One of them took the cheapest one and said “this is the one you will eat at home.”
This Wednesday the lines were incessant and even to enter the supermarket parking lot you had to queue up. The aisles and checkout counters were full of women and men with their carts loaded with the basics for the traditional Christmas Eve.
Aluminum trays, lasagna boxes, raw and baked chickens, fabric, turkey, pork, sweets, potatoes, carrots, eggs, apples, grapes, almonds (coquitos), cans of pigeon peas, corn, mayonnaise, and ingredients to season the different dishes were on the shopping carts.
The murmur and complaints were frequent among the shoppers because of the prices. A pound of ground meat at RD$156.95, the frozen turkey at RD$129.00, a pound of fresh pigeon peas at RD$138.95, baked chicken at 310.00, baked pork at RD$360.00, and baked turkey at RD$330.
On average, the traditional Christmas dinner for a family of five is around RD$6,000 (USD $103), including the following menu: two baked chickens (RD$700.00), three pounds of baked pork (900.00), a pot of pigeon peas (RD$300.00), lasagna (RD$600.00), a ripe banana cake (RD$600.00), six-leaf cakes (RD$750.00) and candies RD$600.00.
Also included on the menu are a green salad RD$200.00, a mixed salad RD$300.00, a loom RD$79.95, two double liters of soft drink RD$120.00, two La Fuerza red wines RD$309.00, a Crema de Oro punch (egg nog) RD$314.00 and Brugal rum RD$350.00.
The sales dynamics in the stores have been remarkable during the last days and the social distancing protocols for the prevention of COVID-19 has not been observed in many cases, only the use of masks is visible in the riots.
People are crowding into the producers’ markets and into the importers’ markets seeking lower prices to ease the expenses of maintaining the tradition and gathering with their families to celebrate Christmas Eve and the Christmas holiday.
Products on the rise
The basic family grocery basket has seen prices increase this year-end. As of yesterday, a pound of rice ranged from RD$23.49 to RD$29.49 (40-50 cents), the five-pound sugar package from RD$124.00 (USD $2), and garlic from RD$54.00 to RD$120.00 (USD $1-2) per pound.
A 30 unit carton of eggs in the supermarket for RD$168.95 to RD$225.00 (USD $2.90-$3.90), a pound of Barceló tomatoes for RD$33.95, a pound of Cuban peppers for RD$47.95, a pound of cucumbers for RD$14.45 and a pound of red peppers for RD$59.95.
The consumption of alcoholic beverages is essential in the Christmas celebrations. The price of sangria is around RD$300.00, the price of wine varies from RD$300.00 to RD$5,000.
The government, through the Social Policy Cabinet, distributed a RD$1,500 bonus to people who do not receive state aid to guarantee the poorest people a Christmas dinner.
A pound of pork.
The pound of the traditional “lechón” (piglet) is sold in the streets and supermarkets between RD$300.00 and RD$360.00.
The turkey, which for many families should not be missing from the table, sells for RD$330.00 per baked pound