The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has accused discount retailers, Aldi and Lidl, of "gross hypocrisy" for cutting the price of fresh produce below the cost of production while saying they support Irish farmers.
Speaking at a protest against the two retailers in North Dublin this week, IFA National Chairman Jer Bergin said, "Reducing the shelf price of some vegetables and potatoes to as low as 29c sends a very misleading message to consumers.
"I want to nail the lie that vegetables and potatoes can be sold way below cost without hurting Irish growers and ultimately driving them out of business."
He went on to say that the use of below-cost selling to drive footfall distorts the market for all Irish vegetables, and undermines Irish production and the financial viability of specialist growers.
Bergin refuted claims by retailers that they bear the cost of these 'giveaways', calling them disingenuous.
"This continuous downward pressure and market destabilisation on fresh produce is threatening the livelihoods of local growers that are part of an indigenous sector which is worth over €350 million per annum to our economy," he said.
Accusing the Competition and Consumer Protection Act of neglecting to address the issue of below-cost selling, he said the next Government must take action – and pointed out that ironically, in Germany, where Lidl and Aldi’s headquarters are, below-cost selling is outlawed.
Bergin concluded in saying, "Growers are fed up that they quality product from their investment and hard work is used as cannon fodder in the war of attrition between the major multiples.
"Below-cost selling is also damaging locally-owned greengrocers and wholesalers and contributes to overshopping and food waste."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.