Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why does the National Consumer Agency want Walmart here?

Despite us having the second highest grocery prices in Europe, today the National Consumer Agency are saying that competition among the big four retailers is cooling down as that they are all charging virtually the same for the popular branded goods we buy. While the NCA are happy to admit that supermarkets are raking in exceptionally high profits they are also advocating taking away the cap on the size of retail units to invite bigger firms into Ireland and provide more competition. Hello, have you looked at what's happened in the US, what are you thinking NCA?

Allowing huge units to locate here will only lead to chains like ASDA (owned by Walmart) coming in to promote a cheap food policy, squeeze farmers and food producers virtually out of business. I went to an ASDA/Walmart store recently in Swindon which was about the size of Colorado. I bought a loaf of what was described as "bread" for 26p. Two weeks later it had the same consistency and appearance that it had the day I bought it.

Can you call this food? If we invite these types of retailers into Ireland they will still source everything they sell from the cheapest producers in the world, Irish farmers will be left out in the cold and ultimately, superstores will prescribe what and how we eat. I don't want Walmart as my food future thanks.

It's incredulous that the National Consumer Agency think that cheap food from giant American conglomerates is the way to go. It's bad for everyone in the long run. Over the past ten years there has been about a thousand Phds completed on the effects of cheap food and the impact that giant retail units has had on towns and local businesses. Michelle Obama recently identifed whole regions of the US which are food wastelands - nothing is grown, everyone eats crap. The NCA really need to read a bit more, look at what has happened to America's food environment and get a bit of sense.

Todays NCA statement -

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