Food price war underway – ICA and Coop lower prices

ICA lowers the prices of over 300 goods. Coop lowers the prices of vegetables and fruit by 12 percent for members. Archive image.
ICA lowers the prices of over 300 goods. Coop lowers the prices of vegetables and fruit by 12 percent for members. Archive image.

Both ICA and Coop have followed Lidl's announcement last week and lowered prices. ICA lowers the price of over 300 items by between 5 and 25 percent, while Coop lowers the prices of vegetables and fruit by 12 percent for members.

Ekonomi 27 mars 2023 15:40

Coop has announced that all fresh vegetables, fruits and berries are reduced by 12 percent, a reduction that corresponds to the VAT on food. The reduced price only affects members and applies from March 30 and April onwards, Marie Nygren, CEO of Coop Sweden, told TT news.

– We want to invest in our members, so that they see that it is important for them to eat wholesome and healthy, she says — and adds that  he has now seen that several raw materials have gone down in price and that this is expected to lead to price reductions from the suppliers.

However, it is unclear which goods could be relevant - and when price reductions can take place .

– Right now we see that we have a good dialogue and we hope to reduce in several areas eventually.

Does this show that there is margin after all?

– This is an investment that we are making from our own capital. This is a tough venture for us.

ICA hopes to be able to follow up with more price reductions in the spring, according to ICA Sweden's CEO Eric Lundberg.

The price reductions include other suppliers' goods  as well as ICA's own, according to CEO Eric Lundberg. Some examples of products are bread, cheese, cured meats, baby food and hygiene products.

ICA Sweden's price reductions therefore apply to the prices to the ICA dealers, who set their own local prices.

Eric Lundberg, vd för Ica Sverige. Arkivbild.

How significant do you think the effect will be for the consumer?

– Of course I hope that it will be very, very big, says Lundberg.

The customer offer and the number of items will vary between different ICA stores, according to Lundberg. But he is convinced that the traders will do what they can to make it easier for consumers.

"Long-term investment"

Last week, Lidl reduced the prices of many foods. But according to the ICA CEO, ICA's price cuts have been planned for a long time.

– We have worked with a long-term investment, and we already started last autumn with our plans, he says.

Lidl stated last week that it is cutting and freezing the prices of over a hundred products by an average of 11 percent. Prices will be reduced from Monday.

ICA Sweden's price reduction for the stores will come into effect after Easter, April 11, and will apply for at least two months, according to the food chain.

Hoping for more reductions

ICA traders have experienced enormous cost pressure in the past year, which they have not been able to fully compensate for through price increases to customers, according to Lundberg.

Since last autumn,  ICA has worked "incredibly intensively" to limit the cost increases, including with selected suppliers.

– Now we have come a little along the way — this is first step, says Lundberg.

Going forward, things look a little brighter, partly because the price of several raw materials has fallen.

– We hope to come up with more price reductions during the spring.

Axfood has no plans to follow the other food chains' price reductions.

"Our low-price chain Willys has a promise to always have the cheapest lunch box. It has always been Willy's promise and will always continue to be. And we will never give up on that. Regardless of what other chains do," writes Axfood's press manager Magnus Törnblom in an email to TT.

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