Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said the focus must now move onto large food companies after a report by the CCPC found no evidence of price gouging amongst supermarkets.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Throughout the debate on the increase of the cost of food items, I have always stated that large food companies in the middle of the supply chain must also be investigated for excess profiteering.
“At the beginning of March, the ECB highlighted that corporate profiteering was contributing to price rises as firms were using inflation as an excuse to increase profit margins.
“This led to calls for an investigation into the price of food items, and supermarkets came under the spotlight as consumers felt shop-shelf prices were excessive.
“The CCPC conducted such an investigation and a high-level report indicated that while prices were high, they found no evidence of price gouging by the supermarkets themselves.
“Representatives from supermarkets and primary producers/family farmers have relayed that they are being squeezed at either end of the supply chain by large food companies, and it is their belief that this is where profiteering is happening.
“Over the past number of months Sinn Féin have called for large food companies to be investigated in terms of excess profiteering, and this call is even more appropriate now following the CCPC report.
“Indeed, the French Finance Minister recently convened a meeting of several large food companies regarding the price of food items and managed to secure a pledge from firms, such as Unilever, to cut prices on hundreds of products.
“It is astonishing that the Irish government have not yet met with large food companies regarding the price of food items, especially given the CCPC Report highlighted that Unilever and Kerry Group reported pre-tax profit margins of 16.3% and 11.9%, respectively in 2021.
“Indeed, today’s quarterly report by the Central Bank of Ireland highlighted that profits contributed more to domestic inflation than wages in recent years, making it clear that profit restraint will have a key role in reducing inflation.
“With the Retail Forum meeting today, it is important that Minister of State Neale Richmond gives a commitment to the members of the forum, and the public, that he will convene a meeting of large food companies regarding excess profiteering.”