Norwegians facing a shortage as Easter nears are hoarding eggs from neighboring Sweden


HELSINKI (AP) — A shortage of eggs in shops during Holy Week has led Norwegians to flock to supermarkets across the border in Sweden and hoard the traditional Easter food.

Norwegian news outlet Nettavisen said Thursday that the Nordby shopping center in Sweden, located just off the border about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the capital, Oslo, has been filled by “desperate” Norwegians trying stock up on eggs.

The center’s Maxi-Mat food store ran out of eggs Tuesday, while the adjacent Nordby Supermarket has had to limit the number of eggs purchased to three 20-packs per household, the news outlet reported.

Not only are the Swedish stores better stocked with eggs, a traditional Easter treat needed for many dishes, but the product is also more affordable in Sweden, Nettavisen said.

“It’s far cheaper than you get in Norway — if you can get eggs in Norway at all, that is,” Ståle Løvheim, the head of the Nordby shopping center, told Nettavisen. “The last time I was in Norway, the store was empty” of eggs.

A pack of 20 eggs in Sweden sells for a price equivalent to 39.90 Norwegian kroner ($3.70), about 30% less than the price in Norway.

Concerns about overproduction of eggs in Norway led to farmers being offered compensation to reduce egg production. That and the effects of bird flu have led to a shortage, according to news reports.

Egg prices are at near-historic highs in many parts of the world as Easter approaches, reflecting a market battered by disease, high demand and growing costs for farmers.

Ranked consistently among the most expensive countries in the world, Norway is known for its substantially high cost of living, especially in regards to food products and alcohol, which are heavily taxed even when compared to well-to-do Nordic neighbors.

Many residents living in southern Norway regularly make shopping trips across the border to Sweden, where products and services enjoy a lower value-added tax, a phenomenon that has evolved into a lucrative business for Swedish store owners.

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