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Israel’s biggest food chain raises prices by 4 pct

Souce:Xinhua Publish By Updated 03/11/2012 5:48 am in Business / no comments


JERUSALEM, Nov. 1 — Israel’s largest supermarket chain Shufersal has announced it is raising its prices by 4 percent during November.

The chain said in a statement that it was “no longer able to prevent price hikes,” charging that the price rises come after several months of hikes in salaries, electricity and fuel costs, local taxes, and prices of raw materials.

“We tried to not to raise the prices, but when we receive demands from a wide range of suppliers, there’s nothing else we can do,” said the statement issued Wednesday night.

Amid the recent wave of price hikes in Israel, consumer organizations have been vowing to arrange boycotts against Israeli food conglomerates.

A group called “Dear Israel” said on its website that by working together the public will have power to prevent the price hikes as well as reduce consumption.

“The food companies have opened a united front of price hikes against the consumers,” said Itzik Alrov, a consumer activist who initiated the successful boycott over cottage cheese in 2011.

Last week, the Israeli cabinet unanimously approved several measures to battle sharp price hikes by food manufacturers and importers.

The Kedmi Committee’s recommendations revealed flaws in the Israeli food supply chain, from growers to store shelves, and outlined steps the government should implement to battle rising costs.

The committee recommended encouraging competition within the manufacturing and importing field, and revising trade relations between suppliers and marketing chains.

It further charges that the government should limit the expansion of major food chains, as only a few players control the market and are suspected of price collusion.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the committee and called for quick implementation of its recommendations.

The Israeli public has seen sharp rises in prices of dairy products, vegetables, bread and eggs, along with tariffs for water, electricity and fuel.

Last summer, hundreds of thousands of Israelis nationwide took to the street in protest of the rising costs of living and demanded a change in the government’s priorities towards what they consider a more equitable socioeconomic agenda.

Improving public welfare and housing is expected to play a central role in the upcoming premiership and Knesset (parliament) elections scheduled for Jan. 22.

Two weeks ago, Netanyahu called for early elections after the government failed to come up with a majority to pass next year’s budget, which includes 14 billion shekels (3.68 billion U.S. dollars) in cuts, specifically targeting social affairs and education.



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