Belgian retailers, Ferrero face claims of price fixing

Posted by Isobel Drake on 14th January 2010

Belgian’s three major food retailers are under investigation for allegedly fixing the price of Ferrero’s iconic Nutella chocolate spread over a six-year period.

The allegations stem from a long running investigation into the confectionery sector by Belgian’s Competition Council, with the case now set to go to a chamber of the Competition Council where retailers Delhaize, Carrefour and Colruyt, along with Ferrero, will have the opportunity to respond to the claims.

The Competition Council allege the price fixing activity took place from 2002 to 2008, with leading chocolate spread product Nutella systematically increasing in price over this time. Other Ferrero products may have also been involved, according to reports from Belgium’s De Standaard newspaper.

A report into the sector was completed this week, although full details of the investigation are not public with other confectionery firms potentially also under the microscope.

The case is expected to be concluded within six months.