A new EU survey confirms what many who live in Norway have claimed for years: The quality and selection of fresh meat and produce in the grocery stores leaves a lot to be desired.
“There are only two countries in Europe where consumers are less satisfied than we are in Norway, and that’s Bulgaria and Croatia,” Gunstein Instefjord of Norway’s consumer council (Forbrukerrådet) told state broadcaster NRK. “That says it all.”
Instefjord said that even though Norway is a long, narrow country where it can be difficult to distribute fresh food to all its remote areas, the results are poorer than they should be. “Norwegian consumers have passed judgment,” he said. “We should be able to expect better.”
Kjell Rakkenes of the farmer-owned meat and poultry cooperative Nortura said he was surprised the survey results were so poor. Norwegians generally support the country’s protectionist policies that restrict imports of meat and produce, and result in high prices compared to other countries. Consumers have clearly noticed, though, how fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables from southern Europe or other countries disappear from the shelves if Norwegian farmers have harvested the same products. Then Norwegians are forced to buy Norwegian tomatoes or celery, for example, even though the imported versions can be tastier and cheaper.
Bård Gultvedt of NorgesGruppen, Norway’s dominant grocery retailer and wholesaler, claimed he and his colleagues would take the survey seriously but weren’t sure how it was formulated. “We work constantly to satisfy our customers and offer the best possible selection of fresh meat,” he said.