The European grocery sector remains a focus for officials and parliamentarians. Traditional areas of scrutiny concerning
consolidation, local retail dominance, suppliers’ access to market and buyer power are being supplemented by a desire to
strengthen the single market and enhance the efficiency of the supply chain. Meanwhile consumers, faced with slow economic
recovery, rising unemployment and their weekly shopping budget in decline, continue to seek strong value against a backdrop of
ongoing, though cooling, commodity price inflation.

Tough economic conditions have not seen shoppers move en masse to cheaper offers, indicating that quality as well as price
remains important to buying decisions. Authorities are turning their attention increasingly to the supply chain to ensure suppliers
are best able to invest in innovation and the quality of their products, to deliver choice to consumers, while sustaining the
competitiveness of retailers as an effective mechanism to constrain price inflation.

These themes provide a context for this symposium which will give an update on current market trends and a perspective on
rivalry between branded and private label products, how shoppers shop, the competitive dynamic between branded and
private label products, unfair practices in the supply chain and how authorities may and do respond to some of the problems
that arise.


This symposium, the eighth to be hosted by the Oxford Institute of European and Comparative Law in conjunction with the
Centre for Competition Law & Policy and sponsored by the law firm Bristows, will explore these issues and their implications for
shoppers. The programme features two roundtable discussions, presenting an opportunity to hear from national competition
authorities and officials. The event will be held under the Chatham House Rule1.