Minister: food in Norway is ‘too expensive’

Minister: food in Norway is 'too expensive'
Coop Norway buys 553 ICA stores in total. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix
Norway's Minister of Agriculture and Food has declared that food in the country is "too expensive", blaming a lack of competition in the retail industry.

Tourists in Norway have long been stunned by the price of food, with a pizza in an Oslo restaurant costing around 150 kroner ($18), a budget bottle of wine 120 kroner ($14), and a loaf of bread from the supermarket around 25 kroner ($3).

“We have high food prices in Norway and the government is now looking into the value chain to see if competition can be strengthened,” the minister, Sylvi Listhaug, told Norway's Aftenposten newspaper.

During the last few months alone, food prices have increased by 5.4 percent, an increase Listhaug blames on the reduction in competition between supermarket chains since Coop bought Swedish retailer Ica's 553 Norwegian stores last October,  

“With only three supermarket chains we should be looking at competition,” Listhaug warned. “There is also a high concentration in the supply chain.” 

Norway's high food prices have driven many locals to make shopping trips across the border into Sweden,  a phenomenon that does not seem to have decreased since the Swedish krona began to rise against its Norwegian counterpart.