The Irish government today (11 August) launched plans for a code of practice to oversee relations between suppliers and retailers in the country.

Ireland’s grocery sector is one of the most competitive in the EU and retailers including Tesco, Aldi and Musgrave Group have all cut prices to win share during the downturn.

The moves have drawn heavy criticism from manufacturers and farmers and Dublin today insisted there needed to be “transparency and balance” in the food sector.

“We have witnessed significant change in the Irish grocery goods sector over the past year, resulting in lower prices and better value for Irish consumers at home. While this is a positive result, the Government also fully appreciates the need to ensure that, in this drive for better value, there is transparency and a balance in the relationships between the various players in the grocery goods sector,” Enterprise Trade and Employment Minister Mary Coughlan said. 

“Any code of practice must have as its key objective the need to achieve this balance between all stakeholders, including suppliers, producers, retailers and consumers.”

A “draft outline” for a code of practice has been published, alongside a consultation document. Interested parties have until 30 September to respond.