NZ Election 2020: Food industry insists Kiwis grocery prices are fair as Labour promises review

NZ Election 2020: Food industry insists Kiwis grocery prices are fair as Labour promises review
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The Food and Grocery Council insists manufacturers’ prices are fair after Labour promised an investigation into the cost of groceries if re-elected.

Jacinda Ardern announced the market study, along with one into building supplies, on Thursday.

New Zealand has one of the most concentrated grocery retail sectors in the world so the Prime Minister said the study would ensure Kiwis pay a fair price as the economy recovers on from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We want to ensure the cost of living in New Zealand is fair and these market studies have the potential to help, by providing us the information we need to act," she said.

On Friday, CEO Katherine Rich said the Food and Grocery Council is welcoming the review and said it will be interesting to see what comes from it.

"It's always useful to have transparency, and from time to time, an evaluation of costs that are really important to consumers."

She said that it's important for customers to be informed regarding pricing.

"Sometimes if you are looking at pricing it's worthwhile knowing where the costs lie, certainly in terms of margin expectations."

Commerce and Consumer Affairs spokesperson Kris Faafoi said the investigation would look into why New Zealand is becoming less affordable.

"The information collected from these market studies will allow us to put in place any necessary regulatory and policy solutions that ensure consumers are paying a fair price, that innovation in the market is not stifled, and that access and competition are appropriate," he said.

But Rich says manufacturers' prices are fair.

"Food makers and marketers who sell to supermarkets are certainly not profiteering, and that's for sure. Their margins are very slim."

If re-elected, Labour plans to initiate the review before the end of 2020.