Greece’s Ministry of Development has issued fines totalling €380,000 ($413,000) to several local food businesses over their “unfair” profits.

Three of the groups penalised have been named: meat products wholesaler Denaxas; frozen fish manufacturer Vassiliou Trofinko; and discount retail giant Lidl.

Following an investigation led by the Ministry, the companies were found to be benefiting from “unfair profiteering” – achieving gross profits higher than those recorded in December 2021.

Their reported actions violate article 54 of the 5045/2023 law introduced last year by the Greek government that prohibits companies from making gross profits from the sale of goods deemed essential for everyday consumer use, such as food.

Of the companies listed, Vassiliou Trofinko, which also processes frozen meats and vegetables, is being given the largest fine of €263,000.

Denaxas and Lidl will be required to pay €62,000 and €55,000 respectively.

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Speaking to Just Food, Xenofon Spyridon Lourantos, general manager at Vassiliou Trofinko said the company has “never had had any delays in paying all [its] dues either to the public or private sector”.

He said that the group was supportive of the government’s efforts “to control the unfair profiteering, which is certainly not the case of our company”.

Lourantos added that “the calculations, assumptions, decision of the Ministry of Development [are] erroneous and we will certainly dispute them in the Court”.

Dexanas and Lidl have also been contacted for comment.

Other food companies have also been granted fines amounting under €50,000, according to an official statement released by the Ministry today (4 April).

Just Food has asked the Ministry of Development to confirm the number and names of the other food businesses facing penalties.

Commenting on the decision, Kostas Skrekas, the Minister of Development, said: “We are not going to show any tolerance, we continue and intensify, with strict controls, the punishment of profiteering throughout the market.

“All those who do not obey the law are found and pay dearly for every violation. The first positive effects of the new measures are already visible with price reductions in thousands of basic products.

“In any case, we are not complacent, we strengthen the control mechanisms and resolutely promote their work until all distortions in the trade area are corrected and legality and healthy competition prevail in the market, for the benefit of all consumers.”

These latest fines mark another attempt by the Greek government to tackle ‘greedflation’ from food businesses operating in the country.

Last November, Hellmann’s mayonnaise producer Unilever was given a €1m penalty for profiting “unfairly”.

In a statement released at the time, the Knorr’s bouillon maker said planned to engage with the “prescribed procedures for contesting the fine”.