Economy minister issues ultimatum to food companies that hiked prices in wartime

Economy Minister Nir Barkat seen during a meeting with heads of the business sector in Israel in Tel Aviv, October 23, 2023.  (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Economy Minister Nir Barkat seen during a meeting with heads of the business sector in Israel in Tel Aviv, October 23, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Economy Minister Nir Barkat issues an ultimatum to Israeli food companies that have raised their prices since the October 7 Hamas terror onslaught and subsequent war, warning them that they will be “blacklisted” if they do not reverse course.

The companies that have substantially increased their prices since the start of the war include Tnuva, Osem and Strauss, which raised the price of some items by as much as 25% back in January.

“Since October 7, the State of Israel has been in a long and difficult war, which has serous consequences for the Israeli economy and the public,” Barkat writes in a letter addressed to the companies. “To the astonishment of us all, under the auspices of war, we are witnessing food price increases by large corporations, suppliers and retailers, in almost perfect coordination.”

Continuing, the economy minister says it is unfortunate that his calls for a price freeze until the end of the war were ignored, and accuses the companies of “spitting in the face of the consumers who are loyal to you and enrich your coffers and your pockets.”

He warns the companies that they have 72 hours to reverse the price hikes, and any companies that fail to do so will be put on a public blacklist.

The exact contents of the blacklist and the impact it could have is unclear.

In addition, he says, he is examining various measures that can prevent companies from taking similar action again in the future.

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