Manager: This editorial from Dagbladet, expresses the newspaper’s point of view. Dagbladet’s political editor is responsible for the editorial.
It’s Wednesday this week It heralded a sharp jump in food prices. It comes on top of a price increase of 11.5 percent over the past year.
February 1 is one of the two annual “price windows” where prices are adjusted from manufacturers to grocery stores. Then prices are expected to rise at the supplier level, and therefore for all sun brands also on store shelves.
Of course it is perfectly normal for prices in the store to go up as food becomes more expensive to produce and deliver. However, the big question is whether they will increase more than is “necessary,” i.e. whether grocery chains will raise prices to offset the increased costs – and then increase further.
All eyes will be on the price tags this week, because most of us are feeling the price hike well in our wallets. There are not the least good reasons to consider the grocery industry. She has a lot to answer for at the moment.
Over the past few years, the competition in the grocery market has received additional attention. In 2020, the Norwegian Competition Authority announced multi-billion dollar fines for the three big food giants – Coop, Norgesgruppen and Rema 1000 – for using so-called Bounty hunters. Fishermen monitored their competitors’ prices, and Competition Norway fears this will lead to price coordination, not price competition. As a result, food prices may have been higher than they would have been had the competition been successful.
Now grocery chains no longer use price catchers, but there are still good reasons to consider whether the competition is good enough.
Not least because the government has cracked down on price discrimination between small and large chains. Large chains were able to negotiate more favorable prices for purchasing goods that smaller companies could not access. As a result, it was difficult to enter a market dominated by a small number of players. Weakens new enterprises and competition for customers.
It is good that the government has announced stronger supervision and action towards the grocery industry. However, the signals were mixed. Just before Christmas 2021, the Minister of Agriculture was worried about a price war between shops. – I think that it is pointless to wage a price war on seasonal goods the way the chains are still doingshe told VG after seeing the price per kilogram had dropped to NOK 2,90 øre.
It should not be the political signal being sent. Expensive Norwegian food – not very cheap. Poor competition and a few players controlling the entire market are largely to blame.
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