Food, Drink and Groceries Regulation

A&L Goodbody's EU, Competition & Procurement Group has significant experience in advising clients on the competition, consumer protection and regulation rules relating to food, drink and groceries.

We have been involved in such issues for the last 30 years including, for example:

  • dawn raids on the grocery and food sectors,
  • advising on the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Grocery Goods Undertakings) Regulations 2016 (the Grocery Regulations)
  • advising on the Competition Act 2002 (as amended) rules relating to groceries
  • advising on the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018
  • working with clients to implement strategies to ensure continued compliance with the Grocery Regulations
  • advising on specific Grocery Regulations queries.

The Grocery Regulations focus on three issues: contracts, compliance, and enforcement. The Grocery Regulations prescribe rules for contracts for the sale or supply of grocery goods by a supplier to a relevant grocery goods undertaking and the legislation places a burden on wholesalers and retailers. There are specific rules on forecasts, payment terms, force majeure, and third party supply obligations (among other things).

There are also specific competition rules relating to the grocery sector and Part 2A of the Competition Act (as amended) prohibits certain practices in the grocery sector which aim to prevent, restrict or distort competition.

The sector is highly consumer focused, characterised by strong competition and tends to be actively monitored by the CCPC and other regulatory bodies. In particular businesses should be alert to the rules on anti-competitive conduct and cartels and the rules applying to businesses operating in a dominant position, you can read more here and here.

Our team has extensive and in-depth experience and expertise derived from working on real problems with companies in the grocery sector. The team has three decades of experience in dealing with investigations, including advising clients on interactions with competition and regulatory agencies and also regularly provides bespoke client briefings and training.