“No firm commitments” reached by Retail Forum on grocery prices
Minister Neale Richmond said he had “received assurances from retailers that, where reductions in input costs filter through to products, consumers will benefit from this”
11 May 2023
While yesterday’s Retail Forum meeting to discuss grocery prices was described as “open and frank” by Minister of State Neale Richmond, the opposition said it represented a “capitulation” by the government.
Ahead of the 90-minute meeting, Minister Richmond said he wanted supermarkets to start lowering prices of staples, and warned that if not the government would consider measures aimed at forcing their hands.
Following the meeting, the Minister said he had “received assurances from retailers that, where reductions in input costs filter through to products, consumers will benefit from this”.
He added there had been “broad agreement on the need for [staples] to remain competitive”, and a “constructive approach” had been taken by forum members.
However, The Irish Times reports that Labour’s enterprise spokesman Ged Nash said the result was “capitulation, plain and simple”.
“The meeting of the forum promised little and it seems to have delivered even less,” he said, stating there were “no firm commitments” to lower prices, only an empty pledge for the price of basic staples to “remain competitive”.
Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly welcomed that fact that said some action on pricing was being taken by government, but she was nevertheless concerned the meeting was “little more than a talking shop”. She added that unless there were “clear short deadlines and targets then there will be limited benefits to consumers”.
“The ultimate test will be if prices come down for consumers, but with the lack of urgency from government then it’s hard to see how this will happen quickly,” O’Reilly said.
Just before the meeting, Tesco announced that it was cutting the price of an 800g loaf of its own-brand bread by 10 cent from 99 cent to 89 cent, with other related products also falling in price. Aldi also made a similar announcement yesterday.