Observations in the analysis include the following:
- The grocery sector is a critical one for Irish consumers and recent price increases have caused real stress on many households.
- Concentration in the grocery retail sector has reduced and competition on price, quality, location and service has improved in recent years.
- This has resulted in more choice for consumers and they can switch easily between competitors.
- There have been significant gains in market share by some players in recent years, although some barriers to entry may remain at local level.
- Food prices remain high when compared internationally. However, over recent years food inflation in Ireland has been the lowest in the EU.
- Changes in input prices do not appear to be immediately reflected in retail prices – recent falls in input prices may take time to be passed onto consumers due, in part, to the lag effect in supplier/retailer contracts.
- The CCPC has seen no indication in this analysis to suggest market failure or “excessive pricing” as a result of an abuse of dominance at this time.
- The CCPC identified a number of price interventions internationally in relation to the grocery retail sector but have not seen any evidence that price interventions have benefitted consumers. Price interventions carry significant risk of unintended consequences and may actually harm consumers.
- Acknowledging that it is an area outside of the CCPC remit, information is also provided on the international experience in relation to price observatories and price monitoring in this area, noting there are pros and cons to these tools.
- As part of ongoing activities the CCPC will continue to engage with the grocery sector.
To read the analysis in full, please see here.