BRUSSELS Dec 11 European Union antitrust
regulators are looking at the food sector to see if retailers
with own-brand products wield too much market power, to the
detriment of suppliers of competing branded goods.
The European Commission said on Tuesday it would study
whether increasing use of own-brand or private label products
reduced choice and hampered innovation in the sector.
It expects to have a report by the end of 2013.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the move
resulted from a number of complaints about the way European food
"We need more comprehensive data to assess these claims.
Therefore, we have decided to carry out a detailed study to find
out whether European consumers enjoy sufficient choice and
innovative products adapted to their needs when buying food."
The EU competition watchdog said private label products had
boosted retailers' bargaining power when dealing with suppliers.
"This may result in unfair trading practices where
individual suppliers are forced to accept unfavourable
conditions for fear of losing a big - or sometimes even only -
client," it said.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Rex Merrifield and Dan