The publication of a draft code of practice for the retail sector has been welcomed by ICMSA president Jackie Cahill.
He described the move as the first step in addressing what he called the "chronic imbalance" that retailers currently enjoyed to the detriment of food producers and consumers alike.
Mr Cahill said that if the code was to function effectively then it had to be underpinned by a sufficiently robust implementation regime.
He said the clearest indicator of its effectiveness will be higher prices for primary producers without any corresponding impact on consumer prices.
"Finally, we might see manners being put on some of these retail concerns that have so flagrantly abused their power," Mr Cahill said.
The report, entitled the Code of Practice for Designated Grocery Goods Undertakings, was compiled by John Travers and published last week by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.
It sets out the possibilities for an agreement on a voluntary code of practice in the sector, together with the draft statutory code of practice.
"I am taking the first steps towards ensuring fair trading relationships at all levels of the grocery goods sector, in accordance with the commitment in the Programme for Government," Mr Bruton said.
"Ireland needs a strong indigenous food sector and a pathway for producers to export. Retailers must understand that this is a national need, in which they can play an enormous part."
Mr Travers' proposal for a statutory Code of Practice follows the failure of the various parties in the grocery goods sector to agree a voluntary code for the industry.
Mr Bruton invited all interested parties to communicate their views on the proposed statutory code to him by September 1.