A FOOD and drink price plunge at European holiday resorts is making self-catering breaks an even greater draw for tourists already looking to cash in on the strength of the pound.
The cost of groceries at supermarkets has dipped by as much as 45 per cent in some resorts compared with this time last year, according to a survey for Post Office Travel Money by tour operator Cosmos.
Lower prices come at a good time for British holidaymakers planning a break on the continent with the pound reaching its highest rate against the euro since 2008 over the past few months.
Travel exchange bureaus are currently offering up to €1.40 against the pound.
The new groceries survey looked at the cost of 20 typical food and drink items for one week for a family of four on a self-catering break at 10 popular European holiday destinations.
The 20 items, including beer and wine, cost the least (£37) on Spain’s Costa Blanca, while the priciest resort was Limassol in Cyprus (£69).
However, the cost in Limassol was still nearly 27 per cent lower than this time last year, with the biggest year-on-year fall, of 45 per cent, being in Majorca.
After the Costa Blanca, the next best-value destination was the Portuguese Algarve where Aldi and Lidl supermarkets have opened along the coastline resulting in a 26.5 per cent fall in prices - the 20 items cost £41.
The survey also showed that those on self-catering breaks are far better off shopping at supermarkets than at local mini-marts.
The 20 items bought at a mini-mart in Crete, for example, were more than 60 per cent more expensive than at a supermarket.
Mini-mart prices were cheapest on the Costa Blanca, where the items cost £45, and priciest in Crete (£104).
Beer at a mini-mart on the Costa del Sol in Spain was 143 per cent pricier than at a supermarket, while instant coffee in Crete was 259 per cent more costly at a mini-mart.
Andrew Brown, spokesman for Post Office Travel Money, said: “This year’s report reveals that it’s not just restaurants and bars that are cutting costs to attract custom.
“The same is happening in shops where there is fierce competition for business - especially in the Western Med.
“Self-catering can be a great way to save money so the shop price falls are great news for families on a strict budget.
“However, the wide variations between prices in resort convenience stores and bigger supermarkets make it important to do some homework before leaving home.
“While basic staples like milk, eggs and bread can cost less or only marginally more in local mini-marts, most food and drink items will cost a lot more.
“This year we found examples of basics like coffee, tea bags, fruit juice and tomatoes costing over twice as much in a mini-mart.”
Cheaper foreign supermarket prices may well be a blessing for some families.
A separate recent survey by Post Office Travel Money found that over half of parents had bust their resort spending budget for meals, drinks and other tourist staples by almost a third (30 per cent) on their last holiday.
Over 1,000 parents were surveyed and nine in ten said resort costs were an important factor when deciding where to holiday.