Israel: Retailers mark up produce by up to 300%

"This week, retail chains broke all records in the mark-up on prices charged for fruits and vegetables - a mark-up that amounts to hundreds of percent," said Israel Farmers Union president Dov Amitai in a new attack against supermarkets over fruit and vegetable prices to consumers, compared with prices paid to farmers for their produce. The Farmers Union says that some supermarkets sold green beans at NIS 25-27 per kilogram, compared with the wholesale price of NIS 8 per kilogram, amounting to a 300% mark-up. Sugar apples (Annona squamosa) sold for NIS 25 per kilogram retail, a 180% mark-up on the NIS 9 per kilogram wholesale price; squash was sold at an average retail price of NIS 10 per kilogram compared with the wholesale price of NIS 2 per kilogram; and sweet potatoes were sold at at an average retail price of NIS 11 per kilogram compared with the wholesale price of NIS 3 per kilogram.

"Israeli consumers are paying a high price for our produce," says Amitai. "Prices for fruit rose 60% in Israel in 2005-11, compared with an average rise of 17% in the EU. Prices for vegetables rose by 29% in Israel over the same period, compared with 20% in the EU." The Farmers Union says that, in 2011, the average mark-up on fruits and vegetable was 51.2%. In June 2012, the mark-up on bananas reached 154% and the mark-up on carrots and bell peppers was 90%. The Farmers Union cites a State Comptroller report from May 2012, which states that fruits and vegetables were a critical factor in the Ministry of Health's basic basket for proper nutrition. The report criticized the government for not using the basic basket or any alternative list for promoting nutritional security for Israel's population.


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