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UPDATED: Which supermarket in Norway is the cheapest?

A cost-of-living crisis in Norway means everyone is feeling the squeeze, and people are cutting back. So, where can you get the cheapest groceries in Norway? 

Pictured is a supermarket.
This is what you need to know about selecting the best supermarket in Norway. Pictured is a supermarket. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Groceries in Norway are among the highest in Europe, according to figures from the EU’s data agency Eurostat

Out of the countries monitored by the stats agency, only Switzerland had a higher price level index. A price level index measures the price levels of a given nation relative to other countries. This means that compared to the rest of the other countries measured, food and non-alcoholic beverages in Norway are the second most expensive overall. 

High grocery prices in Norway have been made even worse by soaring costs elsewhere, be that rising rents, skyrocketing energy bills, interest rate hikes or high inflation in general. 

Therefore, getting the best deal is even more important than ever. So which store in Norway does the cheapest groceries? To answer that, we’ll need to explain a few things first. 

The supermarkets 

So in Norway, there are four large supermarket groups. These are Norgesgruppen (which runs Jakobs, Kiwi, Meny, Spar, Joker and Nærbutikken), Coop (Coop Extra, Coop Mega, Coop OBS, Coop Prix), Rema and Bunnpris. 

Out of those options, Rema, Kiwi and Coop Extra have long positioned themselves as the cheapest option available to consumers. 

Furthermore, stores like Meny and Jakobs try and position themselves as the more upmarket option for discerning customers. In addition, these two, along with Coop Mega, will have a larger and more varied product selection. 

Which is cheapest? 

Some sites and publications in Norway take the time to crunch the numbers and test which is the cheapest supermarket in practice. 

One of Norway’s biggest news publications, VG, does regular price comparisons for a typical shop between the stores. 

Its most recent index, published after supermarkets adjusted prices at the beginning of February, compared the chains battling it out for the title of Norway’s cheapest. 

 A shopping cart full of Norway’s most popular products was the cheapest at Kiwi, according to VG’s food price index.

Following the price adjustments at the beginning of February, several publications reported that Kiwi chose to freeze the prices on hundreds of items while competitors Coop Extra and Rema raised prices. 

Shortly afterwards, Rema and Coop moved to drop prices too, which shows in VG’s results as the same goods from Rema were just four kroner cheaper. Extra and delivery service Oda came in third and fourth, being just half a percent cheaper. 

This doesn’t tell the whole story 

While Rema, Kiwi and Coop Extra have traditionally been the go-to for more price-conscious consumers, there are a few more things you’ll need to know before deciding which is cheapest for you. 

First up, you need to consider how you would like to shop. In Norway, significant savings can be made when using websites which compile customer offers so you can make sure you are constantly shopping around for the products you buy the most. 

When using sites like Mattilbud, the cheapest supermarket might change week to week, or there might not be a cheapest supermarket overall, and you will need to shop around. 

READ ALSO: Six apps to help you save money on your food shopping in Norway

On the topic of shopping around, it is almost always cheaper to buy your fruit and vegetables from small international food stores. 

However, another option is sticking with just a single supermarket for most of your shopping and trying to save more in the long run by making the most of a loyalty program. 

Supermarket loyalty programs are one of the best ways to save a pretty penny on your shopping bill. There are also a few different ways they can be utilised to help you save money too.

Trumf, which covers Meny, Kiwi and Joker stores, offers cashback on purchases and discounts. 

These offer a great way of saving money passively. For example, with Trumf, you can either use the cash back you’ve accumulated to save on your next trip to the tills or have it deposited straight into your bank account.

To become a Trumf member, you must have a Norwegian phone number and bank account. You will then need to link a debit card to your account.

There are also days when you receive extra cashback or discounts on fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Rema customers can sign up to Æ, which offers 10 percent off all fresh fruit and vegetables and 10 percent off of your ten most frequently bought items, meaning you can save money on the things you buy the most.

The main drawback to the Coop loyalty scheme is the initial outlay. Unlike the other loyalty schemes, you will need to fork out to become a part owner of the supermarket chain. You do, however, get members-only offers and cashback, which is paid out once a year and can earn interest. 

So, you may want to choose the supermarket with the best loyalty scheme for your needs. Thankfully, if all this loyalty scheme talk is making your head spin, you can figure out the best one for you with this calculator from Smartepenger. You will need some Norwegian language skills (or google translate) to use it, though.  

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For members


What it means when Norwegian energy prices enter negative

After 18 months of high bills, consumers in Norway are now seeing energy prices enter into negatives. Here's what that means.

What it means when Norwegian energy prices enter negative

In the last year and a half, an energy crisis has left households in Norway dealing with record-high prices.

There is, however, a rare situation that can be seen as the exact opposite of what most have become accustomed to: households getting money off their bills to consume power.

What do negative energy prices mean for consumers?

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it makes the domestic headlines.

When electricity prices in Norway fall below zero in a certain part of the country, the residents of the area in question “get paid” for using electricity, as energy producers have to pay to sell electricity when the prices enter negative.

As Flow Power explains, negative prices refer to times when too much energy is generated. This has two effects: generators are discouraged from producing energy, and consumers are encouraged to use more power. The end result is that supply and demand are usually swiftly balanced out.

In order for it to take place, usually, several factors need to align: an abundance of snow in the mountains, heavy rainfall, limited electricity exports, lower energy consumption than usual (due to, for example, warm weather and summer vacations), or high energy imports (such as imports of nuclear power from Sweden).

You still have to pay grid rent and other fees

Electricity bills in Norway consist of multiple parts (electricity used, grid rent, and taxes/fees), and it’s important to note that negative prices refer only to the electricity used; they do not include the electricity companies’ surcharges, such as grid rent and other taxes/fees.

Grid rent is paid to the company that owns the electricity grid you are connected to, and it consists of a fixed part and a variable part that depends on how much electricity you use (regardless of what the electricity you use costs).

In addition, the vast majority of people in Norway have to pay a set amount in electricity tax to the state for every kilowatt hour they use, as well as VAT on this.

So, for it to actually pay for a consumer to use electricity, the negative price would need to be lower than the said tax plus the VAT on it, plus whatever you pay in grid rent – as well as any potential surcharges.

Furthermore, as negative prices are usually short-lived, the negative balance tends to end up lowering your average price, so the consumers don’t actually get paid.

Instead, electricity companies take the negative price into consideration when they calculate the average price per kilowatt hour you have used in the period covered by your bill (provided you’re on a spot contract).

Recent instances of negative energy prices

One of the most recent examples of negative energy prices in Norway was registered on May 21st, 2023, on a Sunday, when prices were negative in the entire country between 11am and 5pm, according to figures from the Nord Pool power exchange.

At the time, the energy sector outlet Europower reported that it was the longest period with negative prices in a single day in Norwegian history.

“The negative prices in certain hours are mainly due to low consumption of electricity in combination with high production,” power analyst Tor Reier Lilleholt at Volue Insight told the newspaper E24.

“The main reason why there are negative prices now is solar production in Europe. This leads to massive imports. At the same time, there is a lot of snowmelt in the mountains and a lot of water in the rivers,” Lilleholt said.

Periods with negative energy prices in Norway also occurred in July and November of 2020, as well as October 2021.