In a new communication published this week the European Commission set out three main areas for action: Promoting sustainable and market-based relationships between food chain stakeholders; increased transparency in the food chain; and fostering the internal market for food and the competitiveness of all sectors of the food supply chain.
The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU (CIAA) has welcomed the main thrust of the communication, saying that the political recommendations should ultimately contribute to improving the competitiveness of Europe’s agri-food industry.
But the umbrella trade association says its members are is disappointed that unfair contractual and commercial practices are “only partially covered”. It says this is one of the core problems facing the industry today – and without adequate measures to address unfair contractual practices “it will be difficult for the industry to realise its full potential to innovate and enhance its competitiveness”.
CIAA president Jesús Serafín Pérez said: “While welcoming the ambitions of the Commission initiative, it is regrettable that unfair contractual practices occurring between food industry undertakings and large retailers are not sufficiently addressed. Unfair practices can create a negative business environment and further constraints on the competitiveness and innovative capacities of our industry – particularly for SMEs.”
Small and medium enterprises make up 99 per cent of Europe’s food and drink manufacturers.
“What the food industry needs today are stronger measures to combat unfair practices in the food supply chain,” said Perez.
CIAA does welcomes the proposals aimed at implementing the recommendations of the High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the EU Agri-Food Industry, but would like the initiative to be fully aligned with these.
The CIAA’s recent publication of facts and figures relating to the EU food industry’s competitiveness is available here.