The leader of Mondelez, one of the world’s major supermarket suppliers and the owner of Cadbury, has rejected claims of price gouging by Woolworths and Coles in Australia. Mondelez Australia’s CEO, Darren O’Brien, argues that much of the negative criticism against these retail giants is based on emotions rather than concrete evidence of a dysfunctional or uncompetitive market.
O’Brien, who also chairs the Australian Food and Grocery Council, emphasizes that competition in Australia’s supermarket sector is currently at its peak, with consumers enjoying a wide range of choices. He dismisses the need for intervention, like breaking up Woolworths and Coles, and believes that these retailers contribute to a competitive market through their efficient operations.
Despite several ongoing inquiries into the supermarket industry, O’Brien calls for a balanced approach to evaluating the situation. He suggests that these inquiries should focus on factual analysis rather than emotional commentary. While acknowledging occasional concentrated market conditions, O’Brien highlights the robust competition among major retailers, independents, and newcomers like Aldi and Costco, offering consumers diverse options and choices.
Regarding criticisms regarding meat prices and farmgate prices, O’Brien emphasizes the complexity of supply chains and contractual agreements. He believes that consumers have benefited from intense competition over the past decade and that competition remains strong.
In summary, O’Brien challenges claims of price gouging by Woolworths and Coles, emphasizing the competitive nature of the Australian supermarket sector and advocating for a balanced and evidence-based approach to ongoing inquiries.