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Surveys Launched To Help Suppliers And Consumers Inform Grocery Market Study

The Commerce Commission is calling on suppliers of grocery stores and consumers to take part in online surveys to help inform its market study into the grocery sector.

The year-long study looks at whether competition in the grocery sector is working well, and if not, what can be done to improve it.

Commission Chair Anna Rawlings said the two surveys are designed to help build a picture of how competition is working at different levels of the grocery sector.

“Suppliers, such as farmers, growers, manufacturers and processors of grocery products, play a critical role in the New Zealand grocery sector,” Ms Rawlings said.

“We want to hear about suppliers’ trading relationships and bargaining power with retailers and wholesalers and any specific behaviour or conduct which may be positively or negatively affecting their businesses.”

Ms Rawlings said the Commission understands that some of the information suppliers may want to share could be commercially sensitive and highly confidential.

“Anyone who has information relevant to the study can ask us to keep their identity and/or the information provided confidential and we can discuss any available protections with them. If confidentiality is a concern, it should be raised when people first contact us so we can discuss their concerns as early as possible.”

Suppliers also have the option to complete the online survey anonymously.

Alongside the survey, the Commission has released a factsheet for suppliers with information on how it handles confidential information and how the Official Information Act applies to information that it holds. The Commission also has powers under the Commerce Act to protect confidential information in some cases.

Meanwhile, information from the consumer survey, in parallel with qualitative research being undertaken by Ipsos, will help the Commission to identify themes relevant to the study and better understand consumer behaviour including how consumers decide where to shop and what to buy.

Factsheets for consumers and suppliers and the surveys are available at www.comcom.govt.nz/groceries. Survey responses are due by 5pm 25 March 2021.

The Commission is due to release its draft report for consultation in mid-2021 and a final report to Government by 23 November 2021.

Background
Under the Commerce Act, the Commission has the ability to conduct independent studies into competition in different sectors of the economy. Outcomes of the Commission’s work may range from a ‘clean bill of health’ for the sector to recommendations to industry and/or the Government for changes to make competition in the market work better.

In ordering the study, the Government asked the Commission to look at a range of things including:

  • How retailers deal with their suppliers such as manufacturers, producers, farmers and growers
  • Competition at the supplier level of the grocery market
  • Who consumers buy groceries from and who supplies those retailers
  • Competition between retailers when selling groceries to consumers
  • What retailers charge consumers for groceries and how they decide on their prices, as well as the associated levels of service, product ranges and quality of groceries.

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