shopping For Members

Norway's ten-point plan to bring down food prices and improve selection 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norway's ten-point plan to bring down food prices and improve selection 
Norway's governemnt has unveiled a plan for supermarket prices. Pictured is a supermarket. Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

The Norwegian government has unveiled ten points of action it will take to drive down supermarket prices and improve the selection on shelves. The Local has looked at what consumers can expect from the new policy.


At the turn of the month, prices in all supermarkets in Norway were adjusted upwards. Many shoppers will have known this was coming, as much has been made of impending price hikes in the media. 

Supermarket chains themselves first started warning consumers of the price rises ahead around a month before they were actually implemented. 

Chains in Norway typically adjust prices upwards twice a year. Once in February and once again in July. At the same time as the price increases, the Norwegian government has announced a ten-point plan to combat rising prices.

The plan also aims to improve the selection available on supermarket shelves, something many of the country's residents take issue with and make the industry more competitive and easier to enter and participate in for new and smaller players. 


"All in all, this is powerful. But I do not rule out that there will be more measures," Norwegian Minister of Trade Jan Christian Vestre told Norwegian newswire NTB after the plan was unveiled. 

The government will first try to establish where the money from price increases is going. It wants to answer whether and why the increases in product prices are higher for consumers than chains or suppliers and establish who is directly benefitting from the increases. 

Price increases being announced via the media is also a practice that the government will look into. Previously the government has said the use of the media to signal price rises could, at its worst, be a form of illegal price collusion. 

Another quirk of the Norwegian grocery market, the two yearly raises, would also be placed under scrutiny to establish whether this was really the best way of doing business. 

Many will also have noticed that a few large chains dominate the Norwegian grocery industry. Recently, the French frozen chain Picard's announced it would cease Its operations in Norway. The government has said that it will combat measures within the industry which make it difficult for new players to enter the market. 

One tactic Norwegian chains use is clauses prohibiting new stores from moving into premises they own or have moved out of. This prevents new chains from establishing stores in desirable locations. The government would also examine whether big supermarket groups have too much of a stranglehold on the entire supply chain from logistics, own-brand goods and the stores themselves. 

Own-brand goods are often seen as a cheaper alternative for shoppers. However, the government is sceptical over whether this unfairly increases their market share and even drives prices up. The threshold of when a player in the grocery industry is considered dominant will also be lowered, making it easier for the authorities to target those who hold too much power and sway. 

And finally, with all the talk of clamping down on those who wield too much influence over the industry and putting the squeeze on consumers and competition, the plan also includes strengthening the relevant authorities. 


For example, the Norwegian Competition Authority will be allowed to intervene earlier and more extensively when they see issues within the market , and the Norwegian food safety authority will receive more funding to ensure that Norwegian consumers receive a better selection and lower prices. 

"We will let the Competition Authority intervene earlier and check how competition is affected when the big players eventually own both shops, wholesalers, the transport sector and more of the production. After all, it will be like sitting on all sides of the table, and it is not certain that it is in the customers' interests," Vestre told the Norwegian newspaper VG earlier this week. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also