Joint Purchasing Agreements in the Food Supply Chain: Who’s in the Sheep’s Clothing?

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Series Details Volume 9, Number 1, Pages 175-198
Publication Date January 2013
ISSN 1744-1056
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"As a consequence of the unforeseen and rapid food price increases in 2007–08, the European Commission set up a task force to analyse the functioning of the European food supply chain. The phenomenon of rocketing prices, some of which dropped very slowly, ie the rocket-and-feather phenomenon, raised increasing doubts regarding the proper functioning of the European food supply chain. The open questions from a perspective of competition policy were whether concentration in the food supply chain is more problematic than in other sectors, whether the food supply chain is prone to price stickiness and whether such alleged stickiness can be linked to lack of competition."
"The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the competitive effects of JPAs, and their role in EU competition law, case law and the decisions taken by the European Commission, and to analyse whether this provides a ground to pay closer attention to the formation and operation of the large buyer alliances in the grocery retail sector. This article also analyses how case law and decisions are allocated in the dimensions of buyer power and downstream market power. The rest of the article is structured as follows. Section B describes the significance of JPAs in the food supply chain in Europe. Section C comprises the competitive effects associated with JPAs. Section D analyses the role of JPAs in the existing EU competition law, and presents the existing case law and Commission’s decisions with regard to JPAs. Section E allocates the existing case law and the issue of JPAs in food retailing to an existing framework of consequences of buyer power to competition. Section F concludes."
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