A Grocery Code of Conduct can address problems in Canada’s grocery supply chain

Canada’s grocery retail market is highly concentrated: just five large retailers control over 80% of it. 

Without much competition, these large retailers can unilaterally dictate how they work with their suppliers, like Canada’s dairy processors. They don’t always adhere to the terms of contracts with suppliers and can arbitrarily charge fees and take deductions off payments. 

This limits the ability of suppliers, like dairy processors, to invest in their own facilities and in the product innovations that Canadian consumers want. For consumers, this limits their choice and unnecessarily increases the prices they pay. 

The shortsighted decisions made by large retailers today make Canada an unattractive place for food processors to invest. This undermines Canada’s ability to have secure access to food that is grown and processed at home in the future, making our country more reliant on imported products.

A Grocery Code that is mandatory, legislated and enforceable is the answer 

The experiences of other countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia have shown that Grocery Codes help to create a balanced and competitive grocery retail environment that benefits everyone in the food supply chain, from farm to consumer.

Dairy processors think that a Grocery Code could help Canada create a similarly balanced and competitive grocery retail environment. They are not alone in this thinking.

Canadians want Canadian-made products. The overwhelming majority of Canadians support the Canadian government playing at least some role in ensuring that grocery retailers are treating food suppliers and consumers fairly. Governments have started to listen and are taking steps to understand the imbalances in Canada’s food supply chain and identify solutions. 

The Dairy Processors Association of Canada will continue to advocate for the development of a Grocery Code that allows Canada’s dairy processors, farmers and the wider agri-food industry to thrive and Canadians to have secure access to affordable, domestically made food.

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