NEW RIGHTS FOR FOOD AND GROCERY SUPPLIERS

Yesterday, the Federal Government released the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, which is intended address unfair practices in the grocery sector, including by supermarkets towards suppliers. The ACCC will be responsible for enforcing the Code.

The Code:

  • requires retailers and wholesalers to act in good faith
  • sets out the requirements of agreements between retailers or wholesalers and suppliers, including that they be in writing
  • limits when retailers or wholesalers can unilaterally or retrospectively vary an agreement with a supplier, and requires any variation and the reason for it to be in writing, and
  • sets out a dispute resolution process.

 

The Code complements existing protections for suppliers under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, including the unconscionable conduct provisions. It was developed in parallel with the ACCC’s investigations into alleged conduct of grocery retailers, including proceedings against Coles in which the court found that Coles had engaged in unconscionable conduct towards some suppliers.

The ACCC has developed guidance material on the Code, which is available on the ACCC website. The website will contain a list of the retailers and wholesalers who choose to be bound by the Code.

For more information, read the ACCC media release.