The Slovenia Times

Panel Agrees Unfair Practices in Food Supply Chain Preventable


The participants agreed that this was already producing results.

Slovenia's first Food Supply Chain Ombudsman Jože Podgoršek, who took over in early March, said that there were a lot of positive business practices in the food supply chain, but that at the same time there were too many unfair practices.

On the positive side, he listed excellent food companies with their brands and quality products. The road to success is perhaps making a good product at a competitive price and remaining a supplier to a particular retailer regardless of its ownership structure, Podgoršek said.

On the other hand, there are unfair practices as well, according to him. For example, retailers are demanding additional discounts from suppliers of up to 9.2%, which can translate to up to half a million euros for an individual retailer.

Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan noted that the food supply chain ombudsman had been set up in order to monitor the situation in the chain and propose legislative changes. The agriculture act has also been changed so that irregularities could be sanctioned by the Competition Protection Agency, he added.

Dušan Pšeničnik of the Market Directorate noted that the participants in the food supply chain had signed a special code of conduct, but added that this was not enough. He called for fair conduct and creation of fair practices, otherwise measures would be taken.

Competition Protection Agency director Andrej Krašek added that the agency had introduced a procedure in relation to dominant position on the market and a procedure related to a cartel agreement. This year the agency started collecting data on payments, but suppliers appear scared to cooperate.

Commercial law expert Marija Bukovec Marovt noted that small producers and retailers were in a disadvantageous position compared to large retailers, which could translate into severe consequences due to the strong competition.

The participants also warned in the debate that while the legislation allowing for retailers to be penalised looks good on paper, in practice producers cannot afford to sue a retailer.


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