The FINANCIAL — Driven by the sharp seasonal increase in price of Imeretian cheese, the average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian Khachapuri in December 2016 stood at 3.62 GEL.
The Index reached its lowest value (3.51 GEL) in Batumi; the maximum was observed in Kutaisi and Tbilisi (3.75 GEL and 3.63 GEL, respectively). The average price of 3.62 GEL is 4.2% higher compared to the previous month (November 2016), and 4.0% lower compared to December of last year.
As often discussed, the seasonal increase of the Khachapuri Index in the winter season is mainly driven by a sharp decline in the supply of fresh milk, which directly affects the prices of cheese and other dairy products. However, according to the last three years’ Khachapuri data, we observe that in December, the price of cheese is higher in Kutaisi than anywhere else in Georgia. Year after year, we see the price of cheese in Kutaisi exceeding the national average in December.
A possible explanation would be that during holiday seasons, Imeratians might consume much more Imeretian cheese than other regions of Georgia. Kutaisi is in the heart of a traditional Imeretian cheese-producing region, and other regions have their own cheese varieties. Every region in Georgia has its own New Year supra traditions and not all of them necessary include Imeretian Khachapuri, while it is one of the main dishes for Imeretian supras. So, in the New Year period, increased demand pushes up cheese prices and makes it the most expansive compared to other cities.