Monday, July 5, 2010

$30 omlette? Ouch!

These days I hear a lot of people complaining about the price of food (myself included). Everyone's grocery bill seems to be getting bigger, while their grocery bags are getting smaller. It can be frustrating, for sure.

But, it could be a lot worse.

According to the Statistics Norway website, Norway has the highest food prices in all of Europe! As of 2009, Norway's food and non-alcoholic beverages were 54% above the average price level of the 27 EU member countries. Milk, eggs and cheese products were as much as 70% higher (which is ironic considering that Norway was once a heavily rooted in agrarian society).

To put that in perspective, the other day I bought some groceries for a Saturday breakfast, including a loaf of white bread, a gallon of milk, bacon, a dozen eggs and some cheese. All told, I spent about $16. Now, had I made this purchase in Norway, my bill would have been closer to $27.

I guess I won't complain so much the next time I head to the supermarket.


Andrew Holden said...

While the prices are higher than most places you forgot to mention the other part of the story.

Higher prices don't matter if you have higher wages.

Norwegian salaries are much higher than the rest of Europe as well, not to mention the fact that the Norwegian currency is stronger as well.

In fact Norwegian kroner are seen as stable reserve currency for investors that seek a safe haven in troublesome Dollar/Euro times.

The conclusion must be that while the prices are higher in absolute terms, they're not high in relative terms.

The minimum wage in Norway is $20/hr.

Most Norwegians are content knowing that we have never spent as little of our income on food as we do now (percentage of total income).

Erik Evans said...

That's a great point, Andrew. I'm glad you brought it up. In fact, there's a great article at : that discusses how, in 2008, the average Norwegian salary was around $109,000, while at the same time, the median U.S. salary was a little more than $50,000.

Thanks for making the point.