Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever has appealed against a ruling by a European Union court that the company was wrong to ban products of rival manufacturers from its freezers in retail outlets.


In October, the EU’s Court of First Instance upheld the European Commission’s earlier ruling that Unilever subsidiary Van den Bergh Food’s freezer exclusivity policy in Ireland was anti-competitive because of the company’s dominance of the ‘impulse’ ice cream market in Ireland.


Unilever lodged a formal appeal against the decision at the end of the year, reported The Financial Times. The case is now likely to be heard at Europe’s highest court, the European Court of Justice.


Van den Bergh and other manufacturers supply retail outlets with branded ice-cream cabinets at their own expense to help get their brands into more stores. If a company insists that retailers only stock its own products in the freezers, it effectively bans other brands from smaller outlets, as many only have space for one freezer.