Industry Urged To Speak Up Over Supermarkets

UK - NFU Scotland has issued a plea to farmers and food and drink processors to submit evidence to the Competition Commission’s inquiry into the major supermarkets, stressing that it is not too late to speak up.
calendar icon 24 October 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
The inquiry is investigating the behaviour of the major supermarkets and its effect on consumers and the future of the food supply chain. However, the fear amongst supermarket suppliers of complaining makes hard and direct evidence difficult to come by. There is a widespread belief amongst suppliers that they will lose business if they air their concerns.

However, NFUS is stressing that this is probably the best and only chance for years to meaningfully address the concerns of the Scottish food industry over supermarket behaviour. Critically, the Competition Commission will work with suppliers to protect their identity, allowing them to submit evidence anonymously.

NFUS has had a hearing with the inquiry team itself and has presented a dossier to the inquiry which outlines examples of supermarkets exploiting their dominant position. These include demands for lump-sum payments to keep or secure business and expecting suppliers pick up the cost of supermarket promotions, such as ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ deals.

NFUS President John Kinnaird said:

“During our hearing with the Competition Commission, the Chairman stressed the importance of receiving evidence directly from those affected by supermarket power. I am urging any individual or organisation which has suffered the consequences of supermarkets misusing their power to feed into this inquiry. Crucially, the Competition Commission will allow evidence to be submitted anonymously. It helps if they know who is making a submission, but they won’t reveal their identity if they don’t want them to.

“I am fully aware of the fear amongst supermarket suppliers of complaining. Asking them to submit evidence to this inquiry is not something I do lightly. However, with the evidence to act on, there is a real chance that this inquiry could deliver meaningful solutions to ensure the abuse of supermarket power, where it exists, is tackled.”

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