The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an inquiry into the operations of major supermarkets, specifically targeting Coles and Woolworths, to uncover potential issues of price gouging and lack of competition.

In an effort to gather insight from both the public and industry insiders, the inquiry has called for submissions through an online survey, focusing on supermarket pricing strategies, competition levels, loyalty schemes, and the impact of online shopping and private-label products.

Mick Keogh, ACCC Deputy Chair, emphasised the importance of understanding how supermarkets set their prices and the overall competition within the retail sector. By comparing the prices suppliers receive for their goods, the prices at checkout, and the profits supermarkets earn, the ACCC aims to identify if a lack of competition is leading to higher costs for consumers.

This inquiry comes in the wake of the prime minister’s announcement earlier in the year where he raised concerns about rising grocery prices and the accusations of unfair practices by farmers and consumers. The inquiry seeks to provide consumers with fairer prices, but also aims to ensure sustainable relationships between supermarkets and their suppliers.

Submissions are open until April 2nd, with an interim report expected by August.