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

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Cost of living: Households in Norway choosing between food and energy bills
Households in Norway are struggling with rising costs and are deciding between food bills and energy costs. Pictured is a bag of food shopping. Photo by Maria Lin Kim on Unsplash

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. 


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


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