The Competition Commission has been negotiating with the big supermarkets over the last few months as to how an Ombudsman could be installed to oversee supermarket dealings with suppliers.Earlier this year, the CC concluded its investigation into the grocery trade by saying that too much risk was passed from supermarkets to their suppliers. If no voluntary agreement can be found, the CC may have to go the legislative route in order to protect suppliers in the future.
Asda and Sainsburys, to name two of the giant stores, have already said that prices on the shelves would inevitably rise if an Ombudsman is installed in the sector , as this would “undoubtedly lead to rising administrative costs”. Of course an Ombudsman appointment may also lead to changes in trade practices too that protect the supplier more.
But its true, that may also lead to higher shop prices.
For the hard up consumer however, would he welcome a Grocery Ombudsman to look after the best interests of supermarket suppliers…. or would Joe Sixpack prefer lower prices on the shelves, no matter how the supermarket managed to negotiate them? In other words, in harder times, do ethics and morality fly out of the window a bit as far as the man in the street is concerned?
I wonder whether the average High Street bargain hunter cared too much when BBC’s Panorama programme exposed Primark for sourcing textiles from Indian factories employing child labour- so long as their own child got a new summer shirt for next to nothing.
Why isn’t life ever simple?
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