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MONEY

When will food prices in Denmark return to normal?

An analyst in the Danish food sector says that current high food prices are probably here to stay for the time being.

Shoppers in Denmark
Shoppers in Denmark may have to wait some time to see food prices return to pre-2022 levels. File photo: Maria Albrechtsen Mortensen/Ritzau Scanpix

As well as electricity, petrol and gas, the price of food has climbed markedly in Denmark over the last 12 months.

Official data released earlier this week put inflation at its highest level for nearly 40 years, and supermarkets have increased prices on large numbers of products.

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Specific items like chicken and beef are reported to be undergoing drastic price increases, due in part to the increased cost of feed related to global supply disruptions and high energy costs.

According to Statistics Denmark, the price of food products has increased by 7.7 percent during the last year. That takes into account all products, with some therefore undergoing steeper increases than the average. Increases of over 15 percent were recorded for several products including milk, beef and pasta products.

The high price of food in Denmark could be here for the intermediate future – with two years a likely duration according to the sector director for food with the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI), Leif Nielsen.

“There are some completely natural things (causing the price rises) such as droughts in several parts of the world. That has given less production than we have been used to,” Nielsen told news wire Ritzau.

“There are also some political reasons. There is a war in Ukraine. That’s a huge agricultural country. They have not been able to export,” he said.

“Additionally, Ukraine has not been properly sowed. There will therefore be less seed and sunflower oil on the market next year,” he said.

Prior to the war, Ukraine, which had a population of 44 million, produced enough seed for 100 million according to Nielsen. That production has been roughly halved, the analyst said.

Meanwhile, some countries have taken the step of restricting exports in order to protect themselves from global prices increases.

For example, Hungary and Indonesia, which produce more wheat and sunflower oil respectively than they use, have limited or stopped exports to prevent competition. They thereby protect their own populations from inflation on those products.

“In return, prices increase in the rest of the world,” Nielsen said.

Drought, war, a loss of harvest in Ukraine and reduced trade are all factors which can draw out the path back to “normal” prices, he said.

“We probably need two or three years. That’s the experience from other crises,” he said.

He noted that the price of energy is a factor that could help to ease food prices in the more immediate future – should energy itself come down in price. That is due to energy being a major component in the cost of food production.

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MONEY

Danish supermarket chains introduce price limits on selected products

Danish company Salling, which owns three supermarket chains, will place a limit on the price of selected products until later this year in response to inflation.

Danish supermarket chains introduce price limits on selected products

The high current prices of energy and many daily items for customers, caused by inflation, are behind Salling’s decision to introduce a price limit on some of its products, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Salling owns the Netto, Bilka and Føtex supermarket chains in Denmark. The prize freezes will apply at all three.

The limits, which will be in place until October, will be applied to “basic daily and food items”, according to Salling. Netto stores will see price limits applied to 100 products, while the larger Føtex and Bilka stores will have 200 products included.

Own-brand Salling products are likely to form the bulk of the lists, but the specific products were not named by the company.

The prices of the selected products “will not increase before October 28th despite ongoing, increasing inflation,” Salling said.

Although Salling expects inflation to continue, it said it wanted to give customers the option of preventing their spending on groceries from increasing by enabling them to choose products that have not gone up in price.

“We will make it easy for customers to navigate the products by communicationg prices clearly in our stores using signs and markings on shelves,” Salling CEO Per Bank said in the statement.

The move was described by Salling in the statement as an “investment” in light of expected higher costs at suppliers.

“It is just a year since Danes bought luxury items and flocked to supermarkets as a result of corona lockdowns and with extra holiday money in their pockets. Today, customers navigate by special offers and own brands as an alternative to name brands in Salling’s shops and stores,” the company said.

The company will announce on November 1st whether it will extend the limitation period, it said.

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