Food Committee: Discounts Must Not Be Conditional on Minimum Purchases And Stop Hiding Cheaper Products.’

Tuesday’s set of recommendations addresses enforcement and access to information and goods.

Stores’ practice of giving shoppers a discount on a given product only if they buy a certain amount of goods may soon stop. This is one of the recommendations in the draft report published on Tuesday by the so-called “food committee,” which the government set up to study food prices in Israel.

Tuesday’s set of recommendations addresses enforcement and access to information and goods. The committee − headed by Sharon Kedmi, director general of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry − plans to discuss them during its meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Sharon Kedmi - Tomer Appelbaum - 22022012
Tomer Appelbaum

The committee recommends improving enforcement of consumer protection legislation.

It also wants grocery stores to place price-controlled products prominently on the shelves, as opposed to shunting them off to the side in favor of more profitable products.

Stores may also be obligated to grant a certain amount of shelf space to smaller manufacturers.

Currently, many stores condition sales prices on consumers purchasing more than a certain sum of goods. While the committee believes that this practice should be halted, the matter is still under consultation with an external consulting firm, it noted.

The Consumer Protection Authority should be granted the ability to set maximum prices, and this regulator and the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry should be responsible for enforcement, states the committee.

It also suggests introducing a “consumer rights” badge that businesses can voluntarily adopt. The regulators could then focus their efforts on supervising other businesses, it states.

Enforcement could be improved by drafting civilian volunteers to report violations, much like civilian volunteers report littering violations, it adds.

In addition, a publicity campaign could encourage individual consumers to file complaints and court suits over violations.

In order to improve access to information, the committee suggests creating more tools for comparing prices, although it hasn’t worked out the specifics yet.

It also calls for introducing classes in schools to teach smart consumerism.