With food costs rising, the government announced Monday that it was imposing price controls on several dairy products, including one of the most popular cheese spreads – 5% white cheese, used by many Israelis in the same manner Americans use cream cheese.
Other white (soft) cheeses, along with sweet creams, will fall under price controls, with prices limited to a specific level by the Finance Ministry. On average, prices for the items will fall by 1.1%. The most dramatic price cuts will be for 5% white cheese, along with 38% sweet cream – with prices for both falling 20%. The price cuts will go into effect January 1.
At a press conference Monday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said that they had decided on the price controls after reviewing information provided by the Tnuva dairy concern. “The price cut on these items was made possible by a lowering of profits on these products by producers, as well as a reduction in the discounts given to supermarket change.”
Lapid said that he and other ministers were concerned with the situation of the middle class. “A whole generation is being lost” because of the high cost of living.
In 2011, tens of thousands of Israelis protested high prices in what was subsequently dubbed “the cottage cheese protests.” Masses of Israelis boycotted dairy and other products, forcing producers to lower prices on many products, albeit temporarily.