Expected drop in price does not materialise after fixing scandal

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Food retailer Shoprite said yesterday it had not received a discount on prices for bread from suppliers. The group said it continually discounted bread across all brands and had no information about a blanket price reduction from suppliers.

The Competition Commission last week charged Tiger Brands over R98,8 million as an administrative penalty after it and Premier Foods were found guilty of participation in a price fixing cartel in the bread and milling industry in Western Cape.

The Tiger Brands fine is equivalent to 5,7 percent of its national turnover for bread operations for the 2006 financial year. Pioneer Foods was granted conditional immunity under the Commission's Corporate Leniency Programme.

Last week Tiger Brands implemented an immediate national compliance programme for all its employees as a measure to avoid "ignorance as an excuse to break competition laws".

A snap survey by The Times of bread prices at Spar, Pick 'n Pay and Woolworths showed some brands were conducting specials on bread on the shelves.

Last week Spar had a 30 cent special on Blue Ribbon Brown crushed wheat bread but has returned to R6,29. Pick 'n Pay has a promotion on Blue Ribbon white bread selling at R5,35 (a 70 cent discount). It also has Sasko's all in one bread retailing at R6,15 (discount of R2,04) from the R8,19 normal pricing.

Bread prices including Woolworths and Pick 'n Pay in-house breads range between R5,10 and R7,15.

The cheapest is Sasko Daybreak Brown sliced retailing at R5,10.