There is an interesting editorial on Ynet regarding the inclusion of gevina levana into the list of price-regulated products. The author says that regulating the price of gevina levana turns it into a cheap product, which is a product that only poor people would eat, and therefore” regular” people will now purchase the specialty gevina levana products instead. This is what happened with bread, eggs and milk.
So who does price regulation help? The manufacturers, because now consumers purchase a more expensive product. Not the consumers, who on average spend 40 shekels per month on gevina levana. They would see a 20% price reduction which translates to a savings of 8 shekels per month.
In addition, by regulating the price of gevina levana, there is no incentive for the supermarkets to offer a variety of brands, which will also hurt the consumer and push out the small dairies, which fought tooth and nail for years to get a market share.
This editorial struck me as very sad. Where has this superiority complex come from, that we can’t be seen buying price-regulated products? He states that it is the middle class that won’t purchase products which have a reputation as “poor people food”. How did that happen? I would say that I am middle class, and I love the fact that I can go into any super fancy supermarket and purchase these products and not worry about how expensive they are. Am I hanging out with the wrong crowd? Have values degenerated so much that people judge you on your cheese product? Seriously, people, if it is that important, take it out of the container, hide it in the bottom of your trash can and serve it in a fancy dish! Blaming the manufacturers for price regulation is just illogical. Price regulation is here to support the people who need support and allowing these products to be stigmatized just shows how spoiled we are becoming as a nation.
The US controls the prices of many agricultural products as well, including dairy products. There, however, the prices are artificially elevated to support the farmer. The price of milk in the US is still less than the price in Israel, although that is emphatically denied by the Milk Board, which states that products aren’t compared properly (bag vs. carton) and that sales tax should not be included.
How do you feel about price-regulated products? Do you purchase them or do you prefer the specialty products?