The ACCC is instituting Federal Court proceedings against Peters Ice Cream (Peters).
It’s alleging it engaged in conduct which hindered or prevented competition for the supply of single-wrapped ice creams to petrol and convenience (P&C) retailers.
The ACCC alleges that between November 2014 and December 2019, Peters engaged in exclusive dealing by entering into and giving effect to an agreement with PFD Food Services Pty Ltd.
This was to distribute its single-wrapped ice cream and frozen confectionery products to petrol and convenience retailers nationally.
The agreement contained a condition that PFD could not distribute any competing ice cream products in certain locations around Australia.
During the term of the agreement, it’s said that PFD made requests to distribute competing ice cream products to P&C retailers nationally, however their requests were rejected by Peters.
“Our case is that the distribution agreement and Peters’ conduct effectively raised barriers of entry which hindered or prevented potential new entry into the market to supply single-serve ice cream products to petrol and convenience retailers,” says ACCC Chair, Rod Sims.
“We also allege that a substantial purpose of Peters engaging in the conduct was to protect its market position from competitors, as one of only two major suppliers of single-wrapped ice creams, who together held a combined market share of over 95% during the relevant time.
“We allege that this conduct reduced competition and may have deprived ice cream lovers of a variety of choice or the benefit of lower prices when purchasing and ice cream at one of these stores.”
Peters advised the ACCC, without admission, that it has recently entered into a new agreement with PFD, which no longer includes a term restricting PFD from distributing ice cream products for other ice cream producers.
The ACCC says they are seeking declaration, pecuniary penalties, a compliance program order and costs.