Grocery giants on notice - Churchill Fellow comments

10 Jan 2024

Grocery giants on notice - Churchill Fellow comments featured image

Churchill Fellow Ian Jarratt today spoke to Sky News Australia’s Holly Mae Stearnes about about supermarket price gouging and the newly announced government supermarket review.

Ian said: “Judging by what the Prime Minister saying, the government is prepared to use all options available to ensure businesses are passing on lower costs to consumers,”

The review will examine the current Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, which is voluntary and was originally established by the major supermarket chains.

Ian is making a submission to the review, with the final report due  30 June 2024 for consideration by the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and the Treasury Andrew Leigh MP by 30 June 2024.

“We’ve got quite a strong consumer focus now which we are very happy with.” said Ian.

Ian’s original Churchill Fellowship investigated supermarket unit pricing, showing how other countries were already doing it. Ian showed how it would be very beneficial for Australian consumers and the economy by significantly increasing informed consumer choice. Ian recommended that Australian grocery retailers be required to provide unit pricing for pre-packaged grocery products in his Churchill Fellowship report.

Ian publicised his results widely and led a campaign to achieve this. Such a system was recommended in 2008 by a national inquiry into grocery prices and national legislation was implemented in 2009.

“Craig Emerson was the Minister that introduced the unit pricing legislation into Parliament in 2008,” said Ian.

“It’s a great pity that the government has decided to have an independent reviewer of the supplier code, but the previous government didn’t have an independent review of the pricing code which was an internal Treasury job,”

“Competition is the thing. Empowered consumers can have an enormous effect over what businesses do,”

“A problem with the grocery sector at the moment is that the unit price is not good enough. People can’t, see and read the unit prices. It’s really much less used than it should, and could be,” said Ian.

Thinking of becoming a Churchill Fellow? Register today for one of our free info sessions during February. Applications open 1 March.

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