Commenting on last Wednesday’s announcement by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr. Richard Bruton of a draft statutory “Code of Practice for Designated Grocery Goods Undertakings”, Jackie Cahill, the President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) welcomed the move and described it as a first step in addressing what he described as the chronic imbalance that had been permitted to develop in terms of retail margins to the disadvantage of food producers and consumers alike.
Mr Cahill said that if the Code was to function effectively then it must be underpinned by a sufficiently robust implementation regime and the clearest indicator of its effectiveness will be higher prices for primary producers without any corresponding impact on consumer prices. The ICMSA President said the multiples have been taking a larger and larger slice of the consumer price for themselves and the Code must address the areas where retailers are abusing their dominant position at the expense of primary producers.
Mr Cahill said that any such Code must be followed up by action at EU level as this problem is most certainly not unique to Ireland but exists at both EU and global levels. He pointed out that given the export orientation of our agri-food sector, Irish primary producers are suffering disproportionately due to unfair retail practices in other EU countries and this makes the necessity for tackling the problem at EU level even more pressing. All in all, this announcement represented progress in the restoration of fairness to the margins being taken along the food chain.
“Finally, we might see manners being put on some of these gigantic retail concerns that have so flagrantly abused their power”, concluded the ICMSA President.