Imports soar along with Norwegians’ berry love

In one year, Norwegians have taken to eating foreign strawberries by the tonne, tripling imports after a bad start to the berry season.

Imports soar along with Norwegians' berry love
A Norwegian strawberry grower. File photo: Vegard Grøtt/Scanpix

This year, Norway has imported some 1,500 tonnes of strawberries. The equivalent figure by this time last year was 683, show figures from Statistics Norway (Statistisk sentralbyrå – SSB), which cited a decline in homegrown berries following a bad strawberry season in June.

Brit Kåsin at the self-labelled myth-busting online paper Opplysningskontoret, however, said blaming imported berries' succesful entry on the Norwegian consumer market on bad weather was incorrect. She said instead that cash-strapped Norwegians were simply buying strawberries long before the domestic berry season began, because the price was no longer a barrier for most strawberry-loving citizens. 

"The strawberry season did start of badly,(…) but the reason for the hike is simply that Norwegians can't get enough of strawberries," she told the NTB news agency. "People want strawberries all year round, and not just to stick to the summer and Norwegian berries." 


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Why now is a good time to buy a car in Switzerland

Switzerland's automobile sector has been stagnating during the Covid-19 crisis and now it appears is the right time to pick up a bargain.

Why now is a good time to buy a car in Switzerland
Many cars in Switzerland remain unsold. Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP

The law of economics dictates that when the supply of goods is high and the demand is low, the prices will drop. This is currently the case with cars in Switzerland.

In times of crisis, as evidenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, people are uncertain about the future and reluctant to spend their money on luxury items like new automobiles.

In fact, “the coronavirus has caused consumer sentiment in Switzerland to hit a historic low”, according to a report by the state Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). 

READ MORE: UPDATE: Coronavirus-hit Swiss economy shrinks 2.6 percent in first quarter 

The Swiss automobile market has also been impacted by this downward trend, resulting in substantial decrease in sales.

According to Swiss association of car importers, Auto Suisse, “economic uncertainties translate into weak demand”. 

“In the past month only 13,890 new passenger cars have been registered in Switzerland, which is 50.5 percent less than a year ago”, the association added.

So if you are planning to purchase a new car, now is the time to do it.

“After the period of confinement, stocks are saturated”, Dino Graf, communications manager of the Amag group, Swiss importers of VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat, and Porsche, told Le Matin newspaper.

“As our manufacturers have reduced their production in recent months, and the new vehicles have not yet arrived in Switzerland, the warehouses are full”, he added.

For instance, Le Matin calculated that by using the discount offered by car dealers on the vehicles they have in stock — the so-called ‘stock premium’— a customer could save 6,000 francs on a new Peugeot 308.

And leasing is available at 0 percent for certain automobiles— making the purchase of a new car even less costly. 

However, Le Matin predicted that the discounts will likely not last long and “prices will go up at the end of the year”, as the economy slowly recovers.

All the information about costs associated with car ownership in Switzerland can be found here