Food and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct

 Treasury releases Discussion Paper and draft Food and Grocery Code of Conduct

08 August 2014

Treasury has released for public consultation its Discussion Paper ‘Improving Commercial Relationships in the Food and Grocery Sector’ together with a consultation draft of the Grocery Code.  The consultation draft has been prepared by Treasury, together with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, as a document suitable for adoption as a prescribed voluntary code under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and largely reflects the agreement reached by the AFGC with the two major retailers in November last year. 

The consultation process, which will be open for submissions until 12 September, is part of the required regulatory impact assessment process before the Grocery Code can be formally adopted.

The Discussion Paper seeks views on whether the draft Code is the appropriate solution to identified issues in supplier-retailer relationships.  For copies of the discussion paper, draft Code of Conduct and more information visit the Treasury website:

http://www.treasury.gov.au/ConsultationsandReviews/Consultations/2014/Improving-Relationships-Food-Grocery-Sector


Food and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct

18 November 2013

 On Monday 18 November 2013 AFGC and Australia’s two major supermarket retailers, Coles and Woolworths, announced agreement on a Food and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct (the Code).

The Code aims to deliver more contractual certainty, encourage better sharing of risk and reduce inappropriate use of market power across the value chain, it has the potential to improve trading relationships between large grocery retailers and their suppliers. The Code, as agreed, is meaningful, enforceable and tough enough to deliver these objectives.

To give all parties confidence that the Code will be legally enforceable there is agreement that the Code should be “prescribed” under the Competition and Consumer Act. This provides ACCC with an audit and compliance role to oversee the operation of the Code.  

The Code sets out clear obligations to ensure key elements of Supply Agreements that could be subject to uncertainty and change are discussed up front, to allow both parties to agree. It does not seek to impose overly restricted rules on commercial negotiations and it is not possible to set rules for every circumstance within supply agreements.

An important component of the Code is the dispute resolution provisions. A number of options will be available for suppliers’ including; a retailer’s complaints process (published); mediation / arbitration; legal avenues; or ACCC.

The following will assist member companies to start to understand the impacts the Code will have business and trade with the supermarkets:

  1. Food and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct
  2. Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Presentation

For further information contact Samantha Blake ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 02 6270 900702 6270 9007).