Independent Grocers Respond to Biden Antitrust Executive Order

July 9, 2021

NGA Applauds the Biden administration for taking action to address anticompetitive tactics hurting independent grocers

Today, the National Grocers Association (NGA) responded to the Biden administration’s introduction of the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. The order includes 72 initiatives to address antitrust across multiple industries including retail, tech, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals.

Section 5 of the Executive Order directly addresses existing antitrust legislation and the effect of market consolidation on food retailers:

“(iv) to improve farmers’ and smaller food processors’ access to retail markets, not later than 300 days after the date of this order, in consultation with the Chair of the FTC, submit a report to the Chair of the White House Competition Council, on the effect of retail concentration and retailers’ practices on the conditions of competition in the food industries, including any practices that may violate the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Robinson-Patman Act (Public Law 74-692, 49 Stat. 1526, 15 U.S.C. 13 et seq.), or other relevant laws, and on grants, loans, and other support that may enhance access to retail markets by local and regional food enterprises;”

In March, NGA introduced a white paper, which lays out how big box stores and e-commerce giants have used their dominance in the grocery market to gain special treatment and disadvantage their independent competitors.

“We appreciate President Biden’s Executive Order addressing the nation’s competition policy, specifically its focus on the food sector. A diverse, competitive food retail marketplace benefits not only independent community grocers, but consumers, wholesalers, manufacturers, suppliers, and farmers. The order marks the first time in more than 20 years the executive branch has taken action to prohibit conduct that violates the Robinson-Patman Act, a law that was stood up to protect consumers as well as food entrepreneurs from dominant grocery chains who take advantage of their size to amass greater power and limit customer options. We look forward to working with the FTC as it reviews these violations and takes action to end these power buyers’ anticompetitive tactics,” said NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara. “Across the nation, independent grocers and wholesalers serve as the cornerstone of their communities, providing access to nutritious food, essential services, and creating jobs. It is imperative that today’s food retail marketplace is an equal playing field where local, independent grocers can continue providing affordable, fresh options for their communities.”