News & positions

PRESS RELEASES 06 March 2023

AIM calls on the European Commission to ensure a "Fairness for All" approach across supply chains

Brussels, 6 March 2023 – AIM, the European Brands Association, agrees with the European Commission’s recent statement that fair business practices in Europe’s fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market, including in the food and beverage sectors, are critical to ensuring affordability, choice, and innovation in the industry. With 2023 marking the 30th anniversary of the EU’s Single Market and amidst the current debate on a new Competitiveness Strategy, it is more important than ever that the European Commission ensures that supply chains are efficient and devoid of artificial hurdles. This is why AIM has always supported a “Fairness for All” approach for all operators in the value chain.

The current review of the Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines provides a unique opportunity to ensure fair competition for all. This is why we are calling on the Commission to reassess whether leading grocery retailers are hindering fair competition by colluding in gatekeeper alliances that charge brand owners hefty market access fees just for the right to sell their products to their members. Allowing retail alliances that do not jointly purchase to exploit the rules of the Single Market is incompatible with the principles of fair competition.

This implies the following:

  1. The Draft Guidelines only identify two forms of buy-side cooperation, namely joint purchasing and buyer cartels. However, buyers may also cooperate in other ways, for example by collectively boycotting suppliers or by entering into joint tying arrangements that force suppliers to enter into distinct contracts.
  2. The definition of joint purchasing should be clarified: joint purchasing only occurs when several buyers either purchase together or negotiate jointly the substantive contractual terms of the supply agreement under which they purchase the contract products.
  3. Also, relative bargaining power rather than company size should be the key criterion for assessing restrictive effects, and collective purchase stops should not be treated as incidental to joint purchasing if they are not commensurate with the object of the joint negotiation.


For further information, please contact: Laurent Cenatiempo 

Tel: +32 2 736 03 05 • Email:  


About AIM 

AIM (Association des Industries de Marque) is the European Brands Association, which represents manufacturers of branded consumer goods in Europe on key issues that affect their ability to design, distribute and market their brands. AIM’s membership comprises 2500 businesses ranging from SMEs to multinationals, directly or indirectly through its corporate and national association members. 

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