Record high food price rises drive latest inflation figures in Norway 

A sharp rise in food prices in July helped drive inflation in Norway over the last year to levels last seen in the 80s, figures released by Statistics Norway on Wednesday show. 

Pictured is a supermarket.
Statistics Norway said that it hadn't recorded such high food prices before. Pictured is a supermarket. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Norway’s consumer price index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 6.8 percent between last month and July 2021, the latest figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) show. 

There has not been higher growth in Norway since 1988. Significant increases in the price of food and fuel helped drive the inflation figures. From June to July, the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 7.6 percent.

“A historically high price increase for food and non-alcoholic beverages in July was clearly the most important reason for the rise in the consumer price index in July. We have never previously measured a similar price increase for food from one month to the next in the CPI,” Espen Kristiansen from Statistics Norway said of the figures. 

The previous largest monthly increase in the price of groceries was in July 1981, when prices rose 5.3 percent. Over the last year, food has increased 10.4 percent. 

Part of the explanation for the high increase in food last month was July is one of the two times a year when supermarkets have the opportunity to raise prices across the board following negotiations with suppliers. The other month supermarkets can make wholesale changes to their prices in February. 

Fuel also saw a huge rise of 47.4 percent over the last 12 months, although the cost of petrol fell by 4.1 percent over the last month. The cost of goods and services has also contributed to the CPI rising 6.8 percent during the previous 12 months. 

In a recent analysis, Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) at Oslo Metropolitan University concluded that one in three homes in Norway have worse finances now than they did in January this year.

READ MORE: ‘One in three’ Norwegian homes worse off than at start of 2022

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Cost of living: Households in Norway choosing between food and energy bills

More households in Norway are struggling financially, and one in six has either cut back on food to pay energy bills or reduced electricity consumption to afford groceries, according to new research. 

Cost of living: Households in Norway choosing between food and energy bills

The financial security of homes in Norway has shrunk considerably, according to new research from the analysis institute Consumption Research Norway (SIFO). 

In August 2022, 130,000 households find themselves in serious financial difficulties, while 280,000 are struggling economically. The number of households having financial troubles has doubled since last year. 

“This is undoubtedly a bigger crisis than the one we saw during the corona pandemic,” SIFO researcher Christian Poppe told public broadcaster NRK. According to the analysis, 35 percent of homes were financially vulnerable, and just under 50 percent were stable. 

SIFO’s analysis has also found that consumers in Norway have to prioritise between food and electricity. One in six homes has either saved on food to pay for energy bills or cut back on electricity to cover the cost of groceries. 

Additionally, one in twelve have visited a food bank or received support from NAV to help pay for food. The research also found that some financially vulnerable households used savings to pay for food and energy. 

“This is not sustainable in the long term,” Poppe said of the current situation. 

Food Banks Norway (Matsentralen Norge) has also noticed an uptick in people struggling financially. 

“We are collecting more food than ever, but the need for food is increasing much more,” general manager Per Kristian Rålm said. 

Food Banks Norway said that it has distributed 32 percent more food this year and that queues are now being seen at centres all over the country, Norwegian newspaper VG recently reported. 

After energy prices, the cost of food was the next biggest worry for Norwegian households, according to a survey by Sparebank 1. Grocery bills in Norway have risen by 10.3 percent over the past year, figures from Statistics Norway show.

READ MORE: Six apps to help you save money on your food shopping in Norway