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Cheaper beer and food staple prices

Beer drinkers had to wait a year for promised savings to materialise, but the lower prices now come at a time when other staples have also dropped in price.

Cheaper beer and food staple prices
Coffee is one of the products that is now cheaper for Danish consumers. Photo: Colourbox
Two recent analyses have delivered some welcome good news for Danish consumers, who pay the highest food and drink prices in the EU. 
 
The Economic Council of the Labour Movement  (Arbejderbevægelsens Erhversråd – AE) released a study on Sunday showing that the price of beer has finally fallen following the government’s reduction of levies a year ago. 
 
As part of its national growth plan Vækstplan DK, and in an effort to curb cross-border shopping in Germany, the government agreed to completely scrap a levy on soft drinks and reduce a levy on beer by 15 percent.
 
The problem for consumers is that these savings were not passed on to them, as a series of price checks and analyses showed that beer and soda prices remained virtually unchanged. 
 
Until now. The AE analysis shows that the price of soft drinks, mineral water and juice have fallen by 8.5 to 12.25 percent compared to last year’s prices, while the price of beer fell 3.5 percent through the first five months of 2014 compared to the same period last year.
 
“It’s good that something has begun to happen with the prices, but it sure did take long enough,” AE’s chief analyst Frederik Pedersen told Politiken. 
 
A spokesperson for the supermarket chain Coop, which operates Kvickly, Fakta and Superbrugsen stores, said that it was only natural that it would take awhile for the discounts to reach consumers.
 
“It takes time before we make new sales campaigns, which can be planned as far as six months in advance,” spokesperson Jens Juul Nielsen told Politiken. 
 
Nielsen said beer sales are brisk in his stores thanks to the lower prices.
 
“We can see it in the figures. We are selling considerably more canned soda and beer, and more than half of it is sold at a discount,” he said. 
 
It’s not just consumers who are benefitting from the price decrease. The Danish Brewers’ Association (Bryggeriforeningen) said that beer sales are up one percent on the year.
 
“We are happy to see that the levy reductions have made their way out to the supermarket shelves. The price fall can be the reason that beer sales are increasing,” the association’s Per Sten Nielsen said. 
 
According to Politiken, if those numbers hold throughout the remainder of 2014 it would mark the first time in 25 years that the sales of beer have increased in Denmark.
 
Other staples cheaper too
In a separate analysis, Politiken's annual price check revealed last week that all goods at the nation’s discount supermarket chains were 3.94 percent lower in June 2014 than in June 2013.
 
According to the price check, flour was 14 percent cheaper while bottled beer prices fell by eight percent and coffee prices were five percent lower. 
 
Las Olsen, an economist with Danske Bank, called it “sensational' that Danish discount stores were dropping their prices at the same time that global prices on food staples were increasing. 
 
“Grain, meat and coffee have increased across the board by 20 percent since the start of the year. But here at home we have seen falling food prices,” Olsen told Politiken. “That, I must say, is something new.”
 
Eurostat figures showed that in 2012, Danish consumers paid 143 percent of the EU average for basic food and drinks. Only shoppers in non-EU member countries Switzerland and Norway paid higher prices. 

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FOOD & DRINK

Nordic chef sets up world’s northernmost Michelin restaurant in Greenland

You can only get there by boat or helicopter, but Michelin-starred chef Poul Andrias Ziska hopes his restaurant in remote Greenland, far above the Arctic Circle, is worth the journey.

Nordic chef sets up world's northernmost Michelin restaurant in Greenland

The 30-year-old chef relocated his restaurant KOKS from the Faroe Islands in mid-June, leaving behind his relatively accessible address for Ilimanaq, a
hamlet of 50 inhabitants hidden behind icebergs on the 69th parallel north.

Housed in a narrow black wooden house, one of the oldest in Greenland, the restaurant can only accommodate about 20 people per service, and experiments with local produce, including whale and seaweed, with fresh produce almost impossible to find in the harsh climate.

“We try to focus on as much Greenlandic products as possible, so everything from Greenland halibut to snow crabs to musk ox to Ptarmigan, different herbs and different berries,” the tousled-haired, bearded chef tells AFP.

Double-Michelin-starred Faroese chef of KOKS restaurant Poul Andrias Ziska is photographed outside the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland on 28th June 2022

Double-Michelin-starred Faroese chef of KOKS restaurant Poul Andrias Ziska is photographed outside the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland on 28th June 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

The young chef previously ran KOKS at home in the remote Faroe Islands, where he won his first star in 2017, his second in 2019, and the title of the
world’s most isolated Michelin restaurant. 

He plans to return there for a permanent installation, but explains he had always wanted to stretch his gastronomical legs in another territory in the
far north, like Iceland, Greenland or even Svalbard.

He finally chose Ilimanaq, located an hour’s boat trip from Ilulissat, the third-largest town in Greenland and famous for its huge glacier.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, is an autonomous Danish dependent territory.

Local products

“We just found it more suitable, more fun to do something completely different before we move back in our permanent restaurant,” he tells AFP from
his kitchen, set up in a trailer outside the house with the dining area.

With 20 courses, the extensive tasting menu will delight the taste buds for some 2,100 kroner ($280), excluding wine and drinks.

“The menu is exquisite and sends you to the far north and back,” Devid Gualandris, a charmed visitor, tells AFP.

“From the whale bites to the wines, from the freshly caught fish and shellfish to the curated desserts, everything is bursting with flavour.”

While whale meat is a staple food in Greenland and Ziska’s native Faroe Islands, whaling is banned in most of the world and activists have called for
an end to the practice.

A KOKS chef prepares food at the kitchen of the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland, on 28th June 2022.

A KOKS chef prepares food at the kitchen of the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland, on 28th June 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

An unlikely locale for a gourmet restaurant, Ilimanaq — Greenlandic for “place of hope” — is home to a small community living in picturesque wooden
houses, next to hiking trails and more fittingly a luxury hotel, making it an ideal stopover for wealthy tourists seeking to explore new frontiers.

For Ziska, the customers in Greenland are different.

“There are a lot of people for which the number one priority is to visit Greenland and then they come to our restaurant,” he says.

“In the Faroe Islands we had mainly people interested in coming and eating at our restaurant and then obviously also visiting the Faroe Islands,” the
chef explains.

In addition to the adventurers who have already been lured by the Arctic landscape, the Greenlandic Tourist Board hopes the restaurant will also help
attract gourmet travellers.   

People get seated in a restaurant overlooking Disko Bay in Ilulissat, western Greenland, on 30th June, 2022.

People get seated in a restaurant overlooking Disko Bay in Ilulissat, western Greenland, on 30th June, 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

“The unique combination of high-level gastronomy, the inherent sustainability of the North Atlantic cuisine and the characteristic nature and resources of the Disko Bay, speaks to all our senses,” Visit Greenland’s director, Hjortur Smarason, said when announcing the arrival of KOKS.

Accommodation at the Ilimanaq Lodge, the current home of the KOKS restaurant in Ilimanaq, Greenland, where guests can watch whales and floating icebergs in the Disko Bay. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

A long-overlooked destination, Greenland — an Arctic island territory nine times the size of the UK — welcomed more than 100,000 tourists in 2019, nearly double its population, before Covid cut the momentum.

Smarason said the presence of KOKS “is exactly what we strive for in our effort to reach a certain distinguished kind of guests”.  The restaurant is open between the 12th June and 8th September, 2022 and 2023. 

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