ECONOMY

Watchdog probes food retailers and suppliers

watchdog-probes-food-retailers-and-suppliers

Inspectors from the Competition Commission paid visits to 17 retail stores on Thursday, including the country’s six biggest supermarket chains, amid price hikes in a series of commodities. The market watchdog’s snap inspections focused on cereal, cheese, milk, coffee, jam, coffee and other bevarages, investigating possible horizontal and vertical agreements among suppliers and retailers.

Kathimerini understands that the inspections took place at stores in Attica, Central Macedonia and Thessaly. Besides the large supermarket chains, a Thessaly-based dairy sector leader, a top multinational in the cereal industry, and one of the biggest coffee companies also came under the regulator’s microscope.

Sources familiar with the probe told Kathimerini that signs of harmonized practices have emerged in the above categories, as suspected following the commission’s provisional investigation and the findings of the special electronic platform developed. They added that the inspections constituted a search for evidence too.

The market was unhappy, saying it felt like a threat to retailers and suppliers, forcing them absorb the hikes.