• An alliance of food industry associations across the supply chain has formed in response to ongoing supply disruptions, rising inflation, and equity between large retailers and independents.
    An alliance of food industry associations across the supply chain has formed in response to ongoing supply disruptions, rising inflation, and equity between large retailers and independents.
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An alliance of food industry associations across the supply chain has formed in response to ongoing supply disruptions, rising inflation, and equity between large retailers and independents.

  • The Food Industry Alliance (FIA) said it represented organisations across the supply chain from farmers, processors, suppliers, and distributors, through to small to medium retailers.
  • The Alliance’s aim was to also highlight the national contribution that family and privately owned independent food businesses make to the economy.
  • FIA members are:
  • Independent Food Distributors Australia (IFDA);
  • National Farmers Federation (NFF);
  • Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC);
  • Master Grocers Australia (MGA); and
  • Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS).

CEO of IFDA and FIA spokesperson Richard Forbes said the country needed its food supply chain to be firing on all cylinders.

“Food security is key in these uncertain times, so we need to work together, across all industry sectors, and with government, hand in glove, to overcome the many significant domestic and global challenges the food supply chain faces,” Forbes said.

FIA members have a combined revenue of $220 billion and either represent or supply food to more than 156,000 businesses with almost one million employees.

The Alliance said it would work constructively with the new federal government on:

  • the labour shortage crisis, which has meant fruit and vegetables have remained unpicked, meat processing remains under capacity, grocery shelves are slow to be restocked, and restaurants and cafes are forced to operate sub-optimal business hours;
  • solutions to the rising costs within the supply chain, which are significantly impacting food businesses, including fuel and energy;
  • urgent competition reform policy to protect small to medium enterprises (SME) from unfair and anti-competitive commercial practices; and
  • addressing domestic supply chain inefficiencies to ensure Australia is less vulnerable to international forces and that there is better contingency planning during natural disasters and other events, to ensure ‘all’ those in the food supply chain are considered when there is reduced availability of food supplies.

The group said if these issues are not addressed as a matter of priority, then there is increased potential to see food price inflation and more disruptions in terms of availability.

The FIA said, “The Australian food industry is facing a perfect storm of domestic and international challenges so family owned, independent businesses, that provide billions of tonnes of food to the domestic market must be heard.

“Farmers, processors, distributors, independent supermarkets, grocers and butchers and food businesses supplying cafes, restaurants, convenience stores, pubs and clubs all play an important part in the food system.

“The large food retailers play an important role but many other facets of the food industry do as well.”

FIA also represents businesses that provide food to institutional facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, childcare centres, military bases, and prisons.

Meeting with ACCC

Following its launch, FIA met with the chair and deputy chair of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to discuss market power issues between large and SME retailers.

The Alliance asked the ACCC to consider competition reform policy to protect businesses from unfair and anti-competitive commercial practices, to look at consumer and small business law reform, and to strengthen unfair contract terms, unfair trading practices and potentially unconscionable conduct.

Forbes said the group was encouraged ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb took its areas of concern seriously.

“Ensuring a level playing field across the food industry and protecting independent food businesses is critical. Our focus is now to engage with the new government to ensure they understand our issues and why investigating and potentially strengthening competition policy is imperative to a vibrant equitable food industry which respects all stakeholders along the supply chain,” Forbes said.

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