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How Norway's government plans to tackle rising grocery prices

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
How Norway's government plans to tackle rising grocery prices
The Norwegian government wants better supervision, more openness, and fairer distribution of the values in the value chain related to the grocery industry. Photo by Maria Lin Kim / Unsplash

Norway's Ministry of Trade has announced that it wants to strengthen competition in the retail sector in Norway in order to bring down prices.

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The lack of competition in the grocery industry in Norway has been the cause of a lot of debate in recent years, as a few very large players (NorgesGruppen, Coop, Bunnpris, and Rema 1000) virtually dominate the industry.

According to Norway's Consumer Council, significant price hikes earlier this year were due to a lack of competition.

READ MORE: Sharp rise in food prices in Norway linked to lack of competition

The consumer watchdog also warned that the grocery industry is passing on the increased costs of its suppliers to customers, and some market critics have even stated that chains are profiting off the crisis by raising prices.

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Urgent action needed

The ongoing inflation crisis has only made this a more pressing issue for the Norwegian government, which is now looking at new measures to boost competition and - eventually - lower the end prices for consumers.

Norway's Minister of Industry, Jan Christian Vestre, warns that the current situation in the grocery industry is unsustainable.

"Since I took office, I have emphasised that the situation in the grocery industry is unsustainable, and we see that there is still some unfortunate business culture in the industry," Vestre stated in a recent press release, warning that the market situation negatively affects the prices and selection for consumers in Norway.

Government measures underway 

The government is now preparing a broad range of measures to improve competition in the grocery industry.

It wants to make it easier for new competitors to establish themselves in the grocery industry, strengthen the supervision of business practices in the industry, and make sure that individual retail chains don't use their market position to get exclusive and preferential deals from suppliers and other market participants.

In an effort to safeguard consumers' interests and make sure that large players follow the rules, the government also plans to increase the budget of the Norwegian Grocery Authority by awarding it 3 million kroner. 

Some of these measures have been put forward in the government's 2023 state budget proposal, so their implementation will depend on the upcoming budget negotiations between the ruling Labour (AP) and Centre (SP) parties and the oppositional Socialist Left Party (SV).  

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