WASHINGTON, DC — The National Grocers Association (NGA) is applauding the Biden Administration for the president’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. The order includes 72 initiatives to address antitrust across multiple industries including retail, tech, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals.
Section 5 of the Executive Order directly addresses existing antitrust legislation and the effect of market consolidation on food retailers:
“(iv) to improve farmers' and smaller food processors' access to retail markets, not later than 300 days after the date of this order, in consultation with the Chair of the FTC, submit a report to the Chair of the White House Competition Council, on the effect of retail concentration and retailers' practices on the conditions of competition in the food industries, including any practices that may violate the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Robinson-Patman Act (Public Law 74-692, 49 Stat. 1526, 15 U.S.C. 13 et seq.), or other relevant laws, and on grants, loans, and other support that may enhance access to retail markets by local and regional food enterprises;”
In March, NGA introduced a white paper that laid out why the association believes big box stores and e-commerce giants have used dominance in the grocery market to disadvantage independent competitors.
“We appreciate President Biden’s Executive Order addressing the nation’s competition policy, specifically its focus on the food sector,” said NGA President Greg Ferrara. “A diverse, competitive food retail marketplace benefits not only independent community grocers, but consumers, wholesalers, manufacturers, suppliers, and farmers.”
Ferrara noted that this order is the first in 20 years to address violations of the Robinson-Patnam Act, which according to the association was designed to “protect consumers as well as food entrepreneurs from dominant grocery chains who take advantage of their size to amass greater power and limit customer options.”
“We look forward to working with the FTC as it reviews these violations and takes action to end these power buyers’ anticompetitive tactics,” Ferra continued. “Across the nation, independent grocers and wholesalers serve as the cornerstone of their communities, providing access to nutritious food, essential services, and creating jobs. It is imperative that today’s food retail marketplace is an equal playing field where local, independent grocers can continue providing affordable, fresh options for their communities.”