Norway is notorious for its high food expenses, which are now even higher than usual. In the past year, prices have increased by an average of 13.7%, with the nation’s largest grocery store chains increasing the price of certain items by much more.
Tomatoes, for instance, have multiplied in price, and not just the imported varieties, due to the weakening of the Norwegian krone.
Locally grown tomatoes, mostly in greenhouses, are now selling for a startling NOK 67.90 per kilogram (approximately USD 3.40 per pound), up from the previous standard of around NOK 36.90 per kilogram, which was already significantly higher than in neighboring Sweden.
Despite a surge in Norwegian egg production, the egg price has also been in the news. Bernt Bjrnstad, a farmer and egg producer, stated on NRK’s nightly national newscast Dagsrevyen, “This is insanity.” The farmers’ cooperative Nortura increased egg prices by 9 percent, but grocery store chains, including the ostensibly lower-priced KIWI chain, increased the price of eggs packaged under their own house brands by a staggering 77 percent.
Bjrnstad stated, “We will not receive any of the increase.” He has approximately 7,500 chickens on his estate in Brtum, south of Lillehammer. Despite the fact that the price he receives from Nortura increased, he claims that it was insufficient to cover the higher cost of poultry feed, and his income has decreased.
The price of Eldorado-brand eggs sold to consumers increased from NOK 1.83 to NOK 3.24 between June 2022 and June 2023, while the price of First Price-brand eggs decreased from NOK 2.08 to NOK 2.60.
They are among the egg brands distributed by NorgesGruppen’s KIWI chain, which markets itself as inexpensive (Billig). Nora Mile Helgesen, a spokesperson for KIWI, told NRK that eggs had been sold at a loss, so “we had to set the price” in order to prevent raising prices on other items.
“We realize that the farmers want to be paid for what they need and want, and they should,” Helgesen told NRK, “but that is not KIWI’s responsibility. The producers are compensated according to the terms of the agreement, and we bear the costs of selling the product.
” The chain was forced to issue an apology last autumn, however, after changing the packaging of eggs and thereby effectively increasing their price: The chain first increased the price of a carton of 18 eggs, then reduced the number of eggs in the carton to 12 while maintaining the same price.
“I felt cheated and angry,” Thomas Andersen told NRK at the time after the cost of his omelet increased by 74%. KIWI subsequently reduced the price of the 12-pack, explaining that they comprehended consumers’ negative reactions.
KIWI has the largest proportion of the Norwegian grocery market, and its parent company, Norges Gruppen, is highly profitable and owned by one of the nation’s wealthiest families. Norges Gruppen also controls the major retail chains Meny, Spar, Joker, and upscale stores in Oslo such as Jacobs.
A vacuum-packed Frya salmon loin (which cost NOK 69.90 at KIWI just two years ago) cost NOK 99.90 at KIWI last week but NOK 129.90 at a Meny, which often features a fresh meat and fish counter (unlike Kiwi) and has higher rental costs.
In addition to selling higher-quality products, Meny’s customers frequently pay a premium for the convenience of doing all of their grocery shopping there, despite the fact that they would save money if they purchased staples such as milk, butter, or even Frya salmon from KIWI instead.
The higher food prices in June contributed to the overall increase in Norway’s consumer price index, which SSB (Statistics Norway) reported at 6.4% in June. According to Marius Gonshold Hov, chief economist at Handelsbanken, the outcome was “much stronger than expected.” While the aggregate monthly price increase from May to June was 0.6%, food prices increased by 2.5%.
According to Espen Kristiansen of SSB, it is uncommon that food prices increased so dramatically in June. With an inflation target of just 2 percent, it is even more probable that Norway’s central bank will raise interest rates again in August.
Last week, a kilogram of tomatoes at the Coop supermarket chain cost NOK 67.90, and a liter of milk now costs more than NOK 21.10. Consumers can only be startled by the fact that tomato prices have risen to NOK 67.90 per kilogram and that the price of a liter of milk has risen to more than NOK 21.
According to SSB, the price of fresh berries has increased by 19.1 percent, the price of tomatoes has increased by 28.1 percent, and the weak krone has led to price increases for imported goods. In most Oslo retailers, ripe avocados that cost approximately NOK 10 each last winter now cost approximately twice as much.