On Friday, the supermarket giants in Israel agreed that they would freeze an expected hike in the price of bread in the country. This was after Orna Barbivai, the Economy Minister, had put forward a request for a reprieve.
Supermarkets freeze price hike
Unsliced and sliced dark and white loaves, along with challah, are included in the bread products that have limited, or supervised prices. The price was expected to rise by 20% from Sunday onwards. If it were to be implemented, it would mean that the price of the dark loaf bread, which is commonly used, would go to NIS 8.54 from NIS 7.11.
However, supermarket chains including Yochananof, Victory, Shufersal and Rami Levy, announced their decision of protecting consumers from the rise in bread prices. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had announced that this rise in bread prices would remain in effect for two weeks.
This announcement came after Prime Minister Yair Lapid had held overnight consultations regarding the issue. The PMO also stated that an ‘urgent’ meeting would also be conducted by the premier on Sunday with the relevant parties.
The PMO also issued a separate statement in which it said that the prime minister had asked for an investigation to consider all possible scenarios. This included expanding controls that are relevant to bread and curbing increases in bread prices via indemnification of bakeries. As a matter of fact, the PMO said that the premier was also looking into pushing forward legislation that would put a stop to the increases.
It was further asserted that the global food crisis because of the Russia and Ukraine conflict was the reason for the increase in bread prices. This is because Russia is a major wheat exporter. The PMO said that Barbivai had also talked to representatives of the largest bakeries in Israel to come up with a solution for the price hikes.
On Thursday, Rami Levy said on Facebook that they wanted to support struggling families due to which they had decided to absorb the rise in bread prices. Eyal Ravid, the chief executive of Victory, said that they would not increase prices of products that are sometimes the only thing that low-income families have on their table.
Inflation in Israel
The Central Bureau of Statistics released its latest figures for Israeli inflation, which show that it has climbed to 4.4%. This is the highest rate of inflation seen after 2008. The CPI calculates the average cost of household items.
The increase in prices in June were mostly seen in housing, transport and culture and entertainment, which increased by 0.7%, 2.4% and 0.7%, respectively. However, the data also showed that the cost of footwear and clothing fell by 3.4% and there was also an 8.5% fall in the prices of fresh fruits and vegetables.