Cottage cheese prices fall 4.2%

Knesset passes first reading of food competition law.

By
July 2, 2013 20:30
2 minute read.
tnuva cottage cheese

tnuva cottage cheese_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

The price of the cottage cheese, the costly curd that launched a thousand summer street protests in 2010, dropped 4.2% on Monday following a reduction in the price of raw milk, dairy manufacturer Tnuva announced.

Having risen in February for the first time since the social protests, cottage prices dropped from to NIS 6.21 back to their prior price of NIS 5.95 for 250g.

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"We are committed to be responsible to our customers and to manage our basic products sensitively," Tnuva CEO Eric Shore said. "The cottage protests caused Tnuva to emphasize the opinion of the consumer and his needs. Part of this policy is putting cottage under self-regulation."

Anger over the price of the staple product in 2010 led to boycotts and demonstrations that underpinned a social movement over the cost of living, a wave of sentiment that helped Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party score a significant electoral victory in January.

"Just in case someone missed it, the price of cottage went down today," Lapid wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday. "In case someone was asleep, last night the Knesset passed the first reading of a law on food competition that will lead to price reductions in many food products," he added.

The law, sponsored by Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, was based on recommendations from a series of 36 hearings to employ a variety of tools to keep prices down, but limit government intervention.

The law aims to increase competition by ensuring that no single chains dominates a particular geographic area, reduce market power of both suppliers and retailers, and create more price transparency. Another section of the law mandates that stores, and not their suppliers, arrange products on the shelves, a policy meant to help producers of smaller products gain footing with consumers.
  
"We took and important step today to start the process of lowering food prices and encouraging market competition," Bennett said. "I am not in favor of regulation, but in places where effective competition is not created, we will not hesitate to intervene to create order in the market."

Lapid's Facebook flaunting, however, drew the ire of Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On, who said his "in case you missed it" comments were dismissive attempts to call attention away from his unpopular tax policies.

"It's important to me to tell the finance minister: Israel's citizens are not stupid. The know how to read newspapers and they know what you are doing to them," she wrote in her own Facebook post. "They remember that you raised both value-added tax and income tax for everyone, so everything is more expensive and everyone has less money to spend, and they know that there is no reason in the world that Arak should cost NIS 75."

On Monday, a new tax regime on alcohol caused the prices of cheap spirits such as Arak to rise, while bringing down the prices of more expensive spirits.

"At a time when you burden the public with more and more plagues, always with a smile on your face and empty slogans on Facebook, it would be good to adopt some modesty and not jump to show off with every price shift that occurs on your watch," Gal-On said.


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