Ahold Delhaize and Jumbo have signed up to pan-European buying consortiums.
In separate deals, Ahold Delhaize has joined Eurelec, the purchasing alliance set up by Germany-based Rewe and France’s E.Leclerc. Ahold Delhaize was already working with the two grocers in another buying group, Coopernic, alongside Coop Italia.
Jumbo, meanwhile, is to become a member of two buying pacts – Epic Partners and Everest – which involve German grocer Edeka among other retailers.
Eurelec, set up in 2016, sees Rewe and E.Leclerc work together to negotiate with multinational FMCG groups. Pending competition approval, Ahold Delhaize will take part in the joint sourcing from 2025.
“We experienced price differences between European countries that cannot be objectively explained other than that some manufacturers sell the exact same product at different prices in EU countries,” Wouter Kolk, CEO of Ahold Delhaize’s operations in Europe and Indonesia. “We owe it to our consumers to keep food affordable in these challenging times and grant them access to a true European single market.”
Everest, formed in 2020, includes Edeka, Netherlands-based retailer Picnic and France’s Système U. Epic Partners was set up a year later and now comprises eight retailers: the three Epic Partners’ members, Italy’s Esselunga, Switzerland’s Migros, Portugal’s Jeronimo Martins and Sweden-based ICA, alongside Jumbo.
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In a statement, Jumbo said its work with both groups will “start immediately and… offer significant economies of scale from 2024”.
Ton van Veen, Jumbo’s CEO, added: “This collaboration leads to a more equal purchasing position compared to international A-brand suppliers and offers important economies of scale.”
The widening of the alliances comes against a backdrop of months of elevated food inflation across Europe. Rates are easing but the issue remains politically sensitive in some countries.
Gianluigi Ferrari, CEO of Epic Partners and Everest, said: “All consumers throughout Europe can benefit from our combined forces. We invite international A-brand suppliers to actively collaborate with us and create joint growth.”
In July, the EU Commission closed an antitrust probe into two retail alliances – AgeCore and Coopernic – finding “no evidence” they broke competition rules.
It opened investigations into the two groups in April, concerned negotiated trading terms with manufacturers may have been in breach of EU antitrust rules designed to stop cartels and restrictive business practices, and to prevent competition.
AgeCore was set up in 2015 and is formed of four European retailers: Colruyt in Belgium, Conad in Italy, Coop in Switzerland and Eroski in Spain.
The Coopernic buying alliance was set up in 2006 in Belgium.
Earlier this week, the Italian government announced it has reached an inflation-tackling deal for consumer goods, including food, after consultations between Rome and industry groups.