Calls for code of practice for grocers

Food and Drink Industry of Ireland director tells Oireachtas committee that code is a matter of urgency



24 April 2013

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There have been calls for the government to introduce a code of practice for the grocery sector as soon as possible. Paul Kelly, director of Food and Drink Industry of Ireland told an Oireachtas committee on agriculture that a statutory code would address the "unfair trading practices that flow from the imbalance of power between suppliers and retailers". Kelly said that the examples of unfair practices were varied but included retrospective price adjustments and retrospective financing of promotions.

Kelly told the committee that a statutory code should be introduced "as a matter of urgency to introduce a fair trading framework, restore a degree of balance to trading relationships and underpin the continued growth of Ireland’s agri-food sector".

Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president John Bryan also appeared before the committee and pushed for better food labelling. Bryan said the government must first serve consumers, by upholding their right to clear and straightforward information on the origin of product and also safeguard producers by ensuring transparency and fair competition from imported products.

The IFA president also called on the government to curb the power of supermarket chains. Bryan said almost 80% of the Irish retail grocery trade was controlled by Tesco, Musgrave and Dunnes Stores, which concentrates buying power in the hands of a small number of very powerful retail groups. The committee has previously heard denials from several supermarket chains that they demand "hello money" or payments from suppliers to keep their products on the shelves but Bryan said he had heard of many examples of this. He urged the committee to support calls for the urgent regulation of the retail sector with a statutory code of conduct.



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