Food and Grocery Code of Conduct now in effect

The Australian Food and Grocery Council has welcomed that the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes—Food and Grocery) Regulation 2015 – The Food and Grocery Code of Conduct is now in effect with the disallowance period in the Senate ending.

CEO Mr Gary Dawson congratulated the Minister for Small Business, Mr Bruce Billson and the Government for delivering on a meaningful and enforceable Code that will drive behavioural change to encourage fair and effective competition in the long term interests of consumers.

“We congratulate the Government for progressing the Code as an industry-led solution to problems impacting on suppliers and consumers,” said Mr Dawson. “The Code was developed initially through negotiations between the AFGC, Coles and Woolworths.

“Signing onto the Code marks a real commitment to fair dealing and to improving the operation of one of the most dynamic and competitive sectors of the economy – the fast moving consumer goods sector.

“The Food and Grocery Code establishes a clear set of principles relating to key aspects of trading relationships between retailers and suppliers and will provide greater certainty and clarity about dealings in the industry without adding unnecessary complexity or cost.”

“The Code as regulation under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to give it real teeth and this is thanks largely to the drive by Minister to ensure effective competition,” said Mr Dawson.

Key aspects of the Code include:

• Tough restrictions on retrospective and unilateral variations to grocery supply agreements;
• Greater transparency on the basis of shelf allocation for branded and private label products;
• Recognition of the importance of intellectual property rights and confidentiality in driving innovation and investment in new products; and
• A low cost and fast track dispute resolution mechanism.

Mr Dawson also acknowledged Minister Billson’s ongoing commitment in developing the Code.

“The Minister for Small Business has been one of the strongest advocates of the Code, which sets clear ‘no go’ areas, including the types of behaviour that led to recent unconscionable conduct cases. Once in place it will set clearer rules of engagement.”

“It provides a real opportunity to drive changes in behaviour and be a real circuit breaker in retailer-supplier relations by entrenching new standards of behaviour including at buyer level,” said Mr Dawson.



AFGC Media Contact: James Mathews 0407 416 002