Making salad bar vegetables food health 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The cabinet provided the green light Sunday for implementation of the Kedmi
Report, which outlined a series of measures aimed at increasing competition in
the food industry and lower prices to consumers.
“We will do in the food
sector what we did in the cellular communications market,” Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting. “After food prices
jumped in 2006 to 2008, we are bringing in competition on a major scale and with
Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry Director-General
Sharon Kedmi and his team issued their final report in July, concluding that
Israeli consumers paid 10 to 20% more for food in 2008-10 than their
counterparts in the rest of the OECD group of developed economies. It said
Israelis paid 10%-20% less than the OECD average in 2005, but prices have
appreciated more rapidly here than elsewhere since then.
proposed regulating supplier- retailer relations though a number of measures,
including prohibiting suppliers from purchasing shelf space or placing
salespeople inside stores. It recommended dealing with over-concentration in the
supply sector by removing barriers to market entry, increasing the number of
retailers by reducing regulatory barriers to new supermarkets and restricting
leading retailers from increasing their market share.
On the consumer
front, the report recommended increasing the powers of the Consumer Protection
Authority and strengthening enforcement of consumer laws. It also proposed
imposing a 40%-100% reduction on import duties on food products for which no
competition exists in Israel, lowering duties on agricultural products for which
current rates are excessively high (such as fresh beef) and reducing duties on
packaged goods such as tuna and fruit juice.
Finance Minister Yuval
Steinitz and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon promised that the
fruits of the report would be reaped in the coming years. They called on Knesset
members to approve the legislation as soon as possible, “for the good of
Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich slammed the government,
accusing it of approving only “worthless” parts of the Kedmi Report while
ignoring recommendations made by Kedmi and the state comptroller on supervision
of basic food products. She promised that if elected, she would deal responsibly
with the cost of living through price supervision and encouragement of small-
and medium-sized businesses.
Meanwhile, Steinitz and Agriculture Minister
Orit Noked reached an agreement in principle with the Israel Dairy Board and
agricultural representatives, which they said would pave the way for increased
competition in the dairy industry and reduction of prices to
The agreement foresees a four-year streamlining process
starting in 2013, in which the state will encourage owners of small dairy farms
to shut down their operations and transfer their production quotas to larger