Our colleagues from RTL spoke to two artisans about the increasing energy costs and how to keep their margins up without making customers pay exorbitant prices.

A butcher's shop requires several energy-consuming fridges and cooling chambers to keep produce fresh. Although this type of infrastructure has become increasingly costly, there is no real way of circumventing the problem or reducing energy consumption, says Anne Kaiffer from one of Luxembourg City's oldest butcher shops.

Kaiffer explained: "There is no switching off for two hours or so due to food safety. Similarly, we have production machines, like ovens, that run and use significant amounts of energy. It is difficult to conserve energy on that front since we need it."

To that you can add the increasingly high prices for primary materials, which begs the question of whether businesses can afford to have customers make up the difference.

Kaiffer noted: "At some point there will not be any other choice, artisans only have margins of one to three percent. And those margins are getting smaller each day due to energy prices and packaging, which has doubled in price this year. But, we cannot abstain from using it, it's not like we can just ask people to carry meat in their bags."

Frank Iffli, CEO of a bakery chain, complaints of similar problems: "Each time there is a price increase we still try to not pass it on immediately, so our margins are shrinking day after day. Our challenge is to survive as our customers cannot afford to pay €2.50 for a baguette."

Aside from struggling with their own costs, both artisans businesses have also noticed that customers are more careful with the money that they spend.