Norwegian supermarkets overpriced and under-stocked / News / The Foreigner

Norwegian supermarkets overpriced and under-stocked. UPDATED: In a Norwegian round of trolley wars, consumers are losing to the major food distribution chains. A new report from a government-appointed commission on behalf of three ministries shows shoppers often have to put up with paying more, for a worse selection than their European counterparts. This has given thought for food. “Norwegian prices are significantly higher than among our trading partners, and in 2008 they were the highest in Europe,” Committee Chairman Einar Stensnæs said at Wednesday’s press conference when the report was presented.

norwegiansupermarkets, expensivefood, audunlysbakken, ministryofagriculture



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Norwegian supermarkets overpriced and under-stocked

Published on Wednesday, 13th April, 2011 at 09:35 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Ramona Tancau   .
Last Updated on 19th April 2011 at 14:31.

UPDATED: In a Norwegian round of trolley wars, consumers are losing to the major food distribution chains.

Supermarket trolleys (illus. photo)
Supermarket trolleys (illus. photo)
Photo: © Copyright Keith Evans/geograph.org.uk


Monopoly

A new report from a government-appointed commission on behalf of three ministries shows shoppers often have to put up with paying more, for a worse selection than their European counterparts. This has given thought for food.

“Norwegian prices are significantly higher than among our trading partners, and in 2008 they were the highest in Europe,” Committee Chairman Einar Stensnæs said at Wednesday’s press conference when the report was presented.

Aftenposten reports Mr Stensnæssaid Norway’s four grocery retail stores ICA, REMA 1000, NorgesGruppen and Coop control 99 percent of the food market.

The inquiry highlighted selection and prices are a direct result of grocery chain stores monopoly on the market and their “unreasonable business practices”.

“The reality is that we have four chains that control the entire Norwegian grocery market. We know that there are high bonuses and profit margins, as well as poor selection and high prices,” Randi Flesland, chairman of the Consumer Council explained.

In a press release, Minister of Agriculture and Food, Lars Peder Brekk, writes,“The Committee's study shows that retail no longer is merely retail, but also controls distribution, purchasing, and to an increasing degree industrial and primary production. Retail thus emerges as a competitor towards its other suppliers.”

Wider selection, better prices

The report also contains a legal proposition designed to redistribute supermarkets’ power to other retailers and primary producers in the food value chain, resulting in more diversity and better prices.

“We have found it expedient to propose a law on fair trade practices, including the intent to distribute power and risk more evenly, to avoid paying for shelf space and product plagiarism,” said Einar Steensnaes.

Norway does not currently have any regulation regarding the variety of food selection available to consumers, or food prices.

“I would like Norwegian consumers to have a broader selection and greater diversity in stores in the future. This study contains several interesting proposals with this in mind,” said Audun Lysbakken, Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.

Meanwhile, asked about his view about the impact of regulation on relations between chains and suppliers, NorgesGruppen’s CEO, Sverre Leiro said he does not believe his supermarket will be affected.

“I do not think it's going to be relevant. We have good arrangements today with respect to the equilibrium between suppliers and retailers,” he told NRK.

Head of REMA, Ole Robert Reitan, attributed food price levels to the high taxes protecting Norwegian agriculture.

“We have outrageous tariff barriers in Norway. We could cut prices in our stores by between 30 and 40 percent If we had removed them,” he said.

The Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs also commissioned the report.



Published on Wednesday, 13th April, 2011 at 09:35 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Ramona Tancau   .
Last updated on 19th April 2011 at 14:31.

This post has the following tags: norwegiansupermarkets, expensivefood, audunlysbakken, ministryofagriculture.





  
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