Empire Co. Ltd. CEO Michael Medline has stated that there is no evidence that a grocery code of conduct would raise food prices for Canadians. He said that he wouldn’t support a grocery code if he thought it would raise food prices. Medline hopes the grocery code could lead to lower food prices in the future, but added it’s not a panacea for all the issues driving up prices.

Last fall, Loblaw and Walmart said they wouldn’t sign on to the code as currently drafted, stalling progress as the agreement neared completion. Proponents of the code say it will help level the playing field for suppliers and smaller grocery retailers by introducing rules for negotiations between industry players and including a dispute resolution process. However, Loblaw and Walmart have said they are concerned it would raise food prices for Canadians.

The House of Commons committee tasked with studying food prices told Loblaw and Walmart that if they don’t sign on, the committee will recommend the code be made law. Medline is frustrated at how long the code has taken, but still believes there’s a way to keep it industry-led instead of bringing in legislation.

Discussions about the code are continuing with all retailers, and Medline believes the code represents a better way to do business. He called on the Competition Bureau to end its continuing bread price-fixing investigation, calling it “misguided from the start.” Medline said Empire did not participate in fixing the price of bread in Canada and said the continuing investigation has damaged the retailer’s brand.

Source: Globe and Mail
Source: The Star
Source: Financial Post