Food, Consumer | Food scam: – It’s not about the quality

Food, Consumer |  Food scam: – It’s not about the quality

(electronic newspaper) Private label (EMV) meats, cheeses, and juices fill store shelves in both discount chains and supermarkets. In Extra, you can choose between the Coop or Xtra brand.

A closer look at the private label variants of the same meat, cheese and juice product shows that the same product is behind the cheapest and most expensive alternative.

The cheapest store brand can also be produced by established brand suppliers.

The Butcher: – The meat paste is minced meat

Back on store shelves, we offer our own brand variants both in minced meat and in beef and pork.

In Extra, you can choose between the Coop or Xtra brand.

Fatland Ølen slaughterhouse produces both products.

Both the percentage of fat, salt and water content are the same.

But the Coop brand is more expensive. The carbonated dough receives a price increase of NOK 8.

We contacted the producer behind Coop products, Fatland Ølen, to find out the difference.

– Meat dough is minced meat and pancake dough is unleavened dough, says the general manager, Sven Ohlin.

We can confirm that, apart from the packaging, there is no difference between the most expensive and cheapest meat and pie dough under Coop’s own brand.

Butcher and sausage maker Erik Strøm Larsen at Strøm Larsen has no doubts either.

– I think it’s absolutely correct, it’s exactly the same product, he says.

– Strom Larsen says this is about the brands the store charges, not the difference in quality.

It is believed that it is easier for stores to raise the prices of their brands.

– You can’t do anything more with ground beef than add fat. Here there is a maximum of 14 percent. He says the only thing you can do is grind the dough a little differently.

If you have tips on this topic, contact a Nettavisen journalist here!

Harald Christiansen, Director of Communications at Coop Norge points out that the packaging is different in that Xtra doughs are vacuum-packed, while Coop’s is packaged in modified atmosphere.

Read also: Kiwi has pushed prices up: – It’s not easy to notice

Butcher does not want to talk to Netavizn

In Rema 1000 they sell their own store brand Prima.

Prima’s meatballs are also produced by Nordfjord Kjøtt, which sells both meatballs and minced meat under its own brand.

Nordfjord Kjøtt will not speak to Nettavisen or answer questions about what distinguishes the products.

Here you pay an extra NOK 14 for the brand, even though there is no difference between the products.

Rema 1000 states that if raw materials are in short supply, frozen raw materials can be mixed into Prima dough.

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– Could you tell us if the frozen raw materials were mixed with the prima mincer and the minced meat we bought?

– We do not measure this at the product level, but so far we do not have a shortage of raw materials, as the grocery chain states.

Rema 1000 does not answer how to defend the price difference for more or less similar products.

Read also: Orkla warns Rema and Kiwi: – We’re watching closely

Meat Producer: – Small difference

Stores don’t just juggle their own trademark prices on minced meat and pies. At Coop and Rema 1000 we found a number of other examples in meats, cheeses and other juices.

In April, private label brands accounted for about 17 percent of Coop’s total of 16,000 products. The series itself reports Nettavisen. Figures from analysis agency NielsenIQ previously showed that the share of EMV in ground beef and stuffing is nearly 80 percent.

Big difference in price

On Extra’s cold cuts shelf, cooked hams from the Xtra and Coop brands look surprisingly similar.

The Coop-branded packaging looks a little more attractive, and the pork chops are square instead of round.

There is little difference in quality, and it has to do with the clean cut. But this is not a big difference, of course

Sven Fatland, General Manager at Fatland Ølen Butchery.

If you choose the Coop brand, you’ll pay 67 percent more for cooked pork per package.

A closer look at the pork chops and neck in the Rema 1000 and Extra shows the same picture.

Coop cutlets receive a 30 percent price increase when sold under the Coop brand.

Can you tell the difference in the cut? The package on the left costs NOK 96.90 per kilo. This is NOK 22 per kilogram more than the Xtra chips.

The contents of both packages are the same. There is also the amount of fat.

In the case of a neck cut, the veneer, which is the first slice to be cut, can be included in the neck fillets produced under the Xtra brand.

Beyond that, the only difference is the price and packaging, says Fatland-Olin.

Thus, it is possible to make almost identical goods, but under different brands. This gives grocery players like Coop and Rema 1000 the opportunity to manipulate the price.

– You pay for the packaging, and the Coop brand only has Norwegian goods. If the packaging is cheaper, we save money on packaging costs, Olin says.

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– Are they paid differently than producing under the Coop and Xtra brands?

“Coop pays us for the recipe and the cost to it,” Olin says.

We don’t get a straight answer from Rema 1000 if there really is any difference between Prima chips and Nordfjord Kjøtt chips.

Generally, they answer that the size, fat covering, thickness, and how much “trimmed” the meat makes the difference.

They say saving on a discount means there will be a difference in price.

Huge increases in the price of healthy food

– A rare shortage of Norwegian meat

Fatland’s beer points out that Coop-branded meat products are almost always Norwegian meat. When there is a shortage of Norwegian meat, German meat is used in Xtra meat products.

According to the butcher, there is rarely a shortage of Norwegian meat. If the meat is not from Norway, it is clearly marked on the package.

– When price and packaging separate only the meat and pie dough, which product do you choose yourself when shopping?

– I choose ground beef from a cup when I make pasta. This ground is somewhat finer than ground beef Xtra, says Olin at Fatland.

The stores give the impression of a larger selection

– As long as the amount of fat on the slices is the same, it’s the same product, but of course the fat marbling can vary, says butcher and sausage specialist Ström Larsen.

He thinks consumers are naive:

Stores give the impression that customers are getting a larger selection, but when the products are actually the same, they take advantage of the fact that customers think they will get something more if they choose the more expensive package, he says.

reacts to this practice

Lene-Westgaard Halle, an industry committee member and Tory parliamentary representative, was unaware that the chains priced the same products differently under their own brands.

– If the product is the same, it is strange that they charge a higher price. This should not be the case. I hope the grocery chains have a good explanation, she says, and stresses:

– The customer should not pay more for the same product, and it is important for consumers to be aware of this.

Butcher Strom Larsen also reacts to this practice.

– Yes, what can you say. That’s more or less how the industry chooses to do it. I want to be careful about going out with anyone. But the stores are clearly trying to make it as difficult as possible for consumers with different packaging not to spot them, he said.

Stores set prices

In the cheese shop, we also have the opportunity to choose from different cheeses from the shop’s own brands.

Synnøve Finden produces all three types of cheese.

Gob cheese is NOK 13 more expensive than the cheapest Xtra.

Based on the content ad, Coop Gulost contains the same content as Synnøve gulost. However, Cobb cheese is not lactose-free but contains 0.01g of lactose per 100g.

Xtra cheese contains 3 percent less fat than yellow Senof and Kobe cheeses. These are not lactose free either.

We don’t get an answer as to whether it is more expensive to make an acidic culture of gob cheese. But that acidic culture affects the taste of cheese.

Oraug Rygg asserts that it is Coop who decides the cost of the various cheeses in the shop.

Back on the juice shelves at Extra, there’s a lot of juice. The price difference is huge. The Coop brand is 46 percent more expensive than the Xtra brand.

Both orange juices are produced by Røra Fabrikker, and the list of contents is identical.

We asked Røra Fabrikker about the difference between juice produced under the Coop brand and the Xtra brand.

– Nothing more than what is on the package, says Trond Arild Fremstad, General Manager of Rora Factories.

He says we’ll have to talk to someone else, before saying the question should be directed to Coop centrally.

– He says don’t comment on it to the newspaper.

The concentrate has a different quality and the packaging is different, says Harald Kristiansen, Communications Director at Coop. We are not told what the difference is in quality.

– Why is there such a big price tag for more or less the same product? Do we, then, think of ground beef, pie dough, neck cuts, and juice? What are consumers actually paying for the Coop series price increase?

– Different products and different quality give different prices, customers should have freedom of choice. They should be able to choose what raw materials they want in their products, what quality it should be, the origin of the raw materials and how the product is packaged. He says the spreads are reflected in this.

NB! Kiwi carries a number of EMV products in the same product categories under the First Price, Folkets, and Eldorado brands. Unlike competitors Rema 1000 and Coop, it is produced under the Norgesgruppen brand of Unil. Here it is not mentioned who produced the item and therefore they were not included in our survey.

Prices checked on 03/23/23 and 05/12/23 in stores in Oslo.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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