Consumers in Norway have known it for years, but now Norwegian food prices have been confirmed once again as the highest in Europe by both European statistics bureau Eurostat and the central statistics agency in Sweden.
They’ve reported that food prices in Norway, affected by high costs and protectionist regulations, lie 64 percent above the average among member nations in the European Union. They’re also much higher than food prices in the country ranked second on the list, Denmark, where food prices run 36 per cent higher than the EU average.
In Sweden, ranked as having the third most-expensive food in Europe, prices were 20 percent higher than the EU average. By Norwegian standards, Swedish prices are low, which explains why so many Norwegians regularly drive over the border to shop in Swedish grocery stores, where prices on many items are as much as 40 percent less and selection is greater.
The lowest food prices among EU countries were found in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland, reported news bureau NTB. Prices in those former east bloc countries were as much as 30 percent below the EU average.
Prices for alcoholic beverages were excluded from the Eurostat survey. When factored in, prices wound up 166 percent above the EU average because of the punitive taxes Norway imposes on items such as wine, beer, liquor and tobacco.
Fish was the only category in which Norway didn’t wind up as most expensive. Cyprus was listed as having the highest fish prices, with Norway running second even though it’s a major seafood exporter. Norwegian salmon, it seems, can be bought more cheaply abroad than it is at home.