Economy warns: food is 50 percent more expensive – Switzerland: standard

The arrow points down. The population spends less and less money on food. The household expenses in 1945 were on average 35 percent in food and soft drinks, now less than 7 percent, which is 627 francs per month (2015).

But this trend will be reversed if the electorate approves the fair-food initiative launched by the Green Party on 23 September; that claims at least Economiesuisse . "Food prices will increase by about 50 percent in the long term," says Roger Wehrli, who oversees the file at the umbrella organization. The implementation of the initiative generates extra costs. In particular, keeping prices was compliance with higher food standards and their control.

The SP in a dilemma

According to Economiesuisse, the price increase outlined above is particularly painful for families on a limited budget. For example, a household with a monthly budget of less than 5,000 francs spends 12 percent on food, says Wehrli. "If the initiative were to be adopted, this share could be up to 20 percent." The fact that socially weak people spend a disproportionate amount of food is confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FSO). For example, a retired couple with an income of less than 4,900 francs a month is 15 percent.

Video: that is what the Fair Food Initiative wants

Requirements must be made, not only for domestic but also for imported products, Video: Tamedia / SDA

More honest food in Switzerland – at the expense of social disadvantaged people in Germany? The fact that the opponents play this question prominently is no coincidence. Fear of more expensive food seems to be a part of the population. In the first Tamedia poll on 6 and 7 August this aspect was the most frequently cited reason for a no to the initiative. But the opponents also come up with the question because they want to embarrass the left green camp. Because those circles at the same time strive for more ecology and social justice. But what if the two goals can not be combined?

The dilemma of course lies before the SP, which sees itself as a representative of the socially weak. Although the deputies have achieved the yes-watchword. But the SP faction had decided to vote in Parliament, according to some of their exponents they are still working hard, for example, National Council member Prisca Birrer-Heimo. She abstained in Parliament. Higher demands on imported products would be reflected in food prices, she said in the debate, and recalled: "Higher food prices are a problem for socially weaker people." As of September 23, Birrer-Heimo recommends that people vote – just like the Consumer Protection Foundation (SKS), which presides over them.

Increase image

Another actor in the camp of proponents of consumers sees things differently of course. The consumer association Switzerland argues yes to the initiative. President Erika Städeli Scherrer believes it is wrong that "people destroy their health or even lose their lives because of miserable working conditions, so that in our civilized world can buy their food cheaply because their wages, pensions or social benefits are too low" .

The initiators are not faced with a dilemma. Greens President Regula Rytz calls the forecast of food prices predicted by Economiesuisse as "absurd". The association derives its prognosis from a comparison that the Federal Bureau for Agriculture (FOAG) regularly draws. As a result, a standard basket of 25 organic products from February 2018 cost about 50 percent more than the same shopping basket with conventionally produced food. The association links this fact to its assumption that the goal of the initiates is the biological standard for all foods. Rytz denies that: the initiative does not prescribe organic food. "It wants more animal welfare and sustainability and does not bind itself to labels."

In fact, the initiation text says nothing about "organic". Wehrli van Economiesuisse states: "The initiators wrote in their first arguments that they want to have the biological standard in the long term." The initiators do not dispute this, but have since distanced themselves from it. "Even without organic standards," Wehrli argued, "prices would rise because all imports, more than half of all food consumed, are subject to strict controls at the border and abroad at the production site." Battle for Air Sovereignty

The initiators find the cost argument untenable. They refer to a GFS study, which reflects the state of opinion formation on 5 August. For example, higher income groups are more skeptical about the initiative than the deeper ones. Rytz also mentions a study into the consumer protection of Western Switzerland. This shows: food prices are heavily dependent on buying behavior. If you buy seasonal products and avoid food waste, you save money. The initiative, according to Rytz, also wanted to promote direct marketing. "That also has a positive effect on the wallet."

Anyone who will reach Air Force in this likely decisive issue is still unclear. Fact: whether and how much the population will feel the implementation of the initiative can hardly be quantified. This is even admitted in the opposite camp: the federal council warns of a possible increase in the food price. "But it would be unreliable to say what would be much more expensive if the initiative were accepted," says Kathrin Naegeli, spokeswoman for the Federal Food and Veterinary Office (FSVO). "Because that would ultimately also depend on how the parliament would implement the initiative."


Created: 19.08.2018, 20:57 clock

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