Food and Consumers

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Norwegian consumers take a great interest in how food is produced, processed and traded in Norway, and consumer opinion is given considerable weight when formulating food policies.

The main objective of food and agricultural policy is to ensure consumer access to sufficient safe and varied high quality food at a reasonable price. Consumer preferences and choices influence the direction of food policy development. 

What does food contain?

Correct food labelling is essential in order to allow consumers to make informed food choices. Consumers should be able to easily assess food contents, their place of origin, their nutritional value and their correct preparation. 

December 2014 saw the introduction of new rules for food labelling in Norway, which will make it easier for consumers to read and understand what the food contains.

The new food labelling, based on EU requirements, means that manufacturers must specify the type of plant oil used, whether imitation products are used and how much water is added. 

Combining food items into a healthy diet is also made easier with proper food labelling. "Noekkelhullet" (" The Keyhole") is a voluntary Inter-Nordic quality mark, which has given consumers increased access to healthy food. 

Guiding consumers

There is also a growing interest in local food and specialties. Matmerk har introduced the "Spesialitet" ("Specialty") label to aid consumers in finding high quality local specialties, where producers can vouch for the uniqueness of produce and flavour. 

The label "Beskyttede Betegnelser" - "Protected Designations" - gives producers legal protection against copying, and aids consumers in finding products with a particular geographical affiliation or tradition.

The Ø label - for "Oecological" - is the consumer guarantee that the product is organic. Only products that have been approved by Debio, the Norwegian Supervisory Office, or similar foreign offices, can be marketed as organic in Norway. 

Food prices

Norwegian food and agricultural policies are not only to guarantee farmers and food producers optimal working conditions. They  are also to ensure that consumers are supplied with quality food at a reasonable price. The authorities have therefore taken an active role vis-à-vis the supplying industries with regard to food prices.

Food prices in Norway are among the highest in Europe, but in general Norwegians spend a lower share of net income on food than most Europeans.