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.

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.

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

Surveys for consumers and suppliers

To help inform the study, the Commission has just released online surveys for consumers and suppliers.

The consumer survey is designed to help identify themes relevant to our study and better understand consumer behaviour including how consumers decide where to shop and what to buy.

The short survey can be completed here.

A consumer factsheet with more information on the study is also available here.

Meanwhile, the supplier survey is designed to help the Commission better understand how competition is working at the supplier level of the grocery market.

The Commission wants 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.

We understand 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.

The supplier survey should take up to 30 minutes to complete and can be accessed here.

Alongside the survey, the Commission has also 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. The factsheet can be accessed here.

Both surveys close at 5pm on 25 March 2021.

Submissions on our Preliminary Issues Paper

The Commission also recently published submissions received on our Preliminary Issues Paper.

Submissions were received from a range of stakeholders including:

  • Consumer NZ
  • Horticulture NZ
  • Foodstuff North Island Ltd
  • Foodstuffs South Island Ltd
  • New Zealand Food & Grocery Council
  • The Warehouse Group
  • Turners and Growers Fresh Ltd (T&G Fresh)
  • United Fresh New Zealand Inc
  • Woolworths New Zealand Ltd

We would like to thank those stakeholders for their submissions, which are now publicly available at www.comcom.govt.nz/groceries

Next steps in the study

The Commission intends to undertake further engagement with stakeholders as we gather and test information in the lead up to the publication of our draft report around July 2021.

Covid-19

Finally, we would like to thank stakeholders for continuing to work with us through the recent resurgence of Covid-19. As our study progresses, we ask that any stakeholders with concerns about their ability to participate contact us as early as possible to discuss further at marketstudies@comcom.govt.nz