Choice to receive A$1.1m to provide price transparency and comparison reports
The Australian government has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate pricing and competition in the supermarket sector to ensure Australians are paying a fair price for their groceries.
The 12-month ACCC inquiry – the first of its kind since 2008 – will investigate the competitiveness of retail prices and allegations of price gouging in the supermarket sector.
According to a press release from the Treasury office, the inquiry makes up a part of the government’s broader efforts to boost competition and put downward pressure on the price of essentials for Australians.
This includes the scheduled review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct and the Competition Review’s focus on cost-of-living initiatives.
The ACCC will investigate various avenues of competition and pricing practices including the current structure of the supermarket industry at the supply, wholesale and retail levels and differences between farmgate and supermarket prices.
“When farmers are selling their product for less, supermarkets should charge Australians less,” said Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese.
“That’s why the ACCC will use its significant powers to probe the difference between the price paid at the farm gate, and the prices people pay at the check-out.”
The ACCC will produce an interim report in 2024 and final report in early 2025 which will provide the government with findings and recommendations.
In addition to the investigation, the government will deliver A$1.1m to consumer group Choice to provide price transparency and comparison reports on a quarterly basis for three years.
Starting from the second quarter of 2024, Choice will provide shoppers with better information on the comparative costs of grocery goods at different retailers, highlighting those charging the most and the least.
In response to the announcement, Woolworths group chief executive office Brad Banducci said, “We note the federal government’s decision and welcome the opportunity to assist the ACCC with its inquiry.
“We know many Australian families are doing it tough and looking for relief at the checkout.”