food shooping 7588.
(photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
The cost of food in Israel is falling, and has been for several months, data from the OECD confirmed.
According to the data, food prices started falling in April 2014, and the trend has since picked up speed. In January, food prices fell by an annualized 4.1 percent, the fastest drop in years.
The downward trend in food prices is a positive sign, but does not mean food is cheap. Over the past few years, the price of food jumped several times.
In July 2008, for example, the monthly increase in food prices spiked to 15.7% in annualized terms.
The statistics will come as good news to Naftali Bennett, who has touted reforms in the food market that he led as Economy Minister on the campaign trail.
Many of the reforms only went into effect in January.
Under the reforms, import duties on certain foods were reduced, barriers to imports were lowered, and mechanisms were set up to ensure local competition.
The cost of food has been a central sticking point in the cost of living.
The 2011 summer protests began on the heels of a cottage cheese boycott protesting high prices.
Similarly, last year a photo comparing the price of Milky, a local chocolate pudding, with a much cheaper, similar product in Berlin went viral, once again irking consumers.
Yet equally buoyant news was absent regarding the housing market, the other central driver of popular discontent with high prices. In that area, prices continue to stubbornly increase.
A recent report by the state comptroller found that the cost of housing rose 55% from 2008 to 2013. In February, a survey by the Government Appraiser found that housing rose another 5% in 2014.
Meanwhile, Construction Minister Uri Ariel’s Price Target program for cheap housing took another step forward with the first tender being issued.
The program has been praised for aiming to add cheaper apartments to the market, though economists say the scope is far too narrow to help the overall price of housing.
Instead, lucky recipients who win a lottery will have access to the cheaper housing units.