independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Five cent veggie price wars 'very aggressive': Minister

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney concedes that the current vegetable price wars are "very aggressive"

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has said he cannot control the "very aggressive" vegetable price wars which are putting vegetable growers under increasing pressure.

Stores are offering extraordinary bargains like a 1kg bags of onions, potatoes, or carrots for as little as five cents. Brussels sprouts and parsnips are also being offered at the same rock bottom price.

Supermarket giants Lidl, Aldi and Dunnes Stores are dropping prices to unprecedented lows in the bid to win savvy customers.

Mr Coveney said today that new legislation will be introduced to bind supermarkets to the terms of contracts they've signed with food producers.

He said he will introduce the mandatory code of conduct "within weeks, if not months" to protect producers from unfair treatment.

"We are seeing at the moment a very aggressive price war where supermarkets are using vegetables as a loss leader to get people into their stores."

However, he admitted on RTE Radio's Morning Ireland today that "it's not going to solve every problem".

A "worrying situation" has developed in the battle of supermarkets to beat down prices, and "many producers who are reliant on just one retailer so that means they're very exposed".

He said the new legislation which will be introduced by the end of February will protect producers.

"It'll protect primary producers to ensure the contracts they've signed are fully respected for the lifetime of the contracts."

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