Spuermarket Price Fixing

This is interesting:

Supermarket giant J Sainsbury has agreed to pay £26m to the Office of Fair Trading to settle a long-running investigation into the price fixing of milk, cheese and butter.

The OFT concluded in September that supermarkets including Sainsbury, Tesco and Asda has colluded to fix the prices of milk and cheese, costing shoppers an estimated £270m.

Naughty, naughty. However, the supermarkets themselves appear a little perplexed:

The OFT investigation has stunned supermarket executives, at the time of the alleged price fixing in 2002 supermarket depots were being blockaded by dairy farmers and they were under immense pressure from the government and the National Farmers\’ Union to raise milk prices to help alleviate stress within the farming and agriculture industry.

It is believed that in late 2002, following public declarations of support for the farming industry from leading retailers including Tesco, the milk processors began sharing details of other supermarkets\’ pricing policies with rival retailers.

In public and privately supermarket executives have expressed exasperation at the OFT probe, claiming they are being punished for trying to do the right thing for farmers.

So is that actually the truth here? The supermakets and the milk processors colluded to raise prices to the farmers, as everyone insisted that they should, and now they\’ve been fined for it? Anyone seen the report or know more?

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