Knesset to Roll Back Law on Price Labels

Tnuva products line a supermarket shelf. Photo by Flash90
Dairy products on a supermarket shelf. (Flash90)

Ten years ago, the Knesset passed a law that required all products sold on retail shelves to have a price tagged on them. The law was passed in order to make it easier for shoppers to identify prices of products, and to make it harder for retailers to raise prices suddenly, thus saving shoppers money.

But it turned out that the law was actually a cause for prices to go up. Supermarkets had to hire extra personnel to tag the tens of thousands of items on shelves, and the cost of the extra workers was of course passed on to consumers. Now, MK Amir Ochana (Likud) is seeking to reverse the law, and this week will propose legislation that will remove the requirement for prices to be tagged on products.

Instead, prices will be posted near the items on shelves, in a manner that makes it clear that the price relates to specific products, under the new law. Prices can be displayed on a regular sign or an electronic one.

The law, said Ochana, will “remove the inefficient, cost-inducing, and uniquely Israel requirement to label each individual product on store shelves. The current law has led to higher prices, as stores needed to hire someone whose only job was to go through tens of thousands of items and make sure they were labeled properly – and then do the work all over again when the prices change. This law will save Israeli consumers at least NIS 200 million a year,” he added.

“The excessive regulation forces retailers who wish to maintain a profit are forced to pass on these expenses to customers,” said Ochana. “There is a reason that this kind of system is not in use elsewhere.”