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Opposition parties have called for transparency around the cost of food on the shelves. PA
Price Hikes

Sudden drop in bread prices by some supermarket chains blasted as a 'PR exercise'

The price cut came just hours in advance of an urgent Retail Forum meeting to discuss food prices.

THE SUDDEN DROP in the price of bread by some major supermarket chains has been branded a “PR exercise” by the Labour Party.

Tesco and Aldi dropped the cost of some of their bread goods yesterday by ten cent amid increasing calls for regulation of grocery industry prices, and have been followed today by SuperValu doing similar.

Ged Nash, Labour spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, criticised the two for taking the decision just hours in advance of an urgent Retail Forum meeting to discuss food prices.

He said accused the Government of ‘flailing’ in its efforts to force supermarkets to cut prices.

Yesterday’s Retail Forum meeting was moved forward by Minister of State with responsibility for retail business Neale Richmond in light of the rising cost of food.

Retail representative bodies, retailers and government departments sit on the forum which meets quarterly to discuss issues impacting the sector.

Nash told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland it was “billed as a showdown” and accused supermarkets which reduced the price of bread beforehand as taking part in a “PR exercise” to “take some of the heat off the, in my view, profiteering supermarkets in this country engaging in price gouging”.

This also “threw a bone” to the minister ahead of the Retail Forum meeting, Nash said, adding that he doesn’t believe the Forum will lead to any grocery bills coming down in the coming weeks.

“Based on the rather embarrassing outcome of yesterday’s meeting I don’t believe that will be the case. There were no ultimatums given to the supermarket bosses, there were no firm commitments were received by the minister in terms of price reductions.”..

Opposition parties have been pressuring the Government to bring transparency to food prices, starting with today’s meeting.

Tesco Ireland announced that it would be cutting the price of its own-brand bread by 10c. This means a 800g sliced pan will now cost 89c compared to 99c.

Aldi is also reducing the retail prices of its own brand bread products with effect from tomorrow.

This price reduction will see Aldi’s sliced pans loafs reduced by 10 cent each to 89 cent (white bread), 99 cent (brown bread) and €1.09 (white Mega-Toast) respectively.

It has been followed today by a reduction in SuperValu’s own-brand bread.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil yesterday that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has warned against introducing price controls on food.

He has been adamant that there was a clear message from government to the retail sector that prices must come down as the input costs decrease.

But during Leaders’ Questions Varadkar said that the Government received preliminary advice from the CCPC about how to deal with the high grocery prices.

He told the Dáil that the body “strongly” advised against introducing price controls on food.

The Fine Gael leader said it could have an adverse impact on small retailers and rural retailers, while “other prices that are not controlled [could] then get put up even more”.

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