Hot summer may have driven up meat prices

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Norway’s record warm summer led to lots of outdoor grilling this year, and some agriculture analysts think that may be have pushed the country’s already-high meat prices even higher. They point to the simple law of supply and demand.

“This has been the best outdoor grilling season in history,” Christian Anton Smedshaug of the agricultural policy think tank Agri Analyse told newspaper Dagsavisen on Thursday. That ignited demand for steaks, sausages and other meat as folks flocked outdoors for dinner.

Meat prices rose 3.4 percent from June to July, according to state statistics bureau SSB, contributing to an overall rise in food prices that boosted inflation and now has prompted Agriculture Minister Sylvi Listhaug to demand some answers from the grocery store chains in Norway. Listhaug contends that since farmers and ranchers didn’t get the big subsidy increase they demanded last spring, and prices shot up anyway, the wholesalers and retailers must be pocketing undue profits.

Smedshaug notes, though, that high demand “yields little motivation for sales campaigns,” suggesting the retailers were able to charge higher prices because customers were willing to pay them.

His theory doesn’t explain, though, why the price of ice cream was the only food commodity that didn’t register an overall increase in July, even though demand reportedly was high for it as well.

newsinenglish.no staff