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Competition Policy

Cases & Judgments (Agriculture, Food & Fisheries)


In early 2015, the Commission initiated an investigation into an agreement between the French retailer, Carrefour, and the main French federation of vegetable growers, Les Producteurs de Légumes de France (Légumes de France). The agreement aimed to restrict most of Carrefour's procurement of certain seasonal vegetables in France to the members of Légumes de France, excluding vegetable producers from other Member States from the French market. The agreement, which was the first of its kind and was only limited to one retailer (Carrefour), was renounced by the retailer after the Commission initiated its investigation. The investigation was therefore closed without a finding of an infringement.

At the end of 2015, the Commission began investigating agreements that national associations of agricultural producers publicly reported that they had reached with national associations of processors and national associations of retailers in France. The agreements aimed at raising prices of some dairy and meat products and excluding supplies of producers from other Member States by committing the retailers to source 100% of the relevant products in France. The Commission intervention ensured that French supermarket shelves were not reserved for French products, thus preventing a damaging cycle of retaliations, blocking imports from outside their own Member States, for all farmers and the cases were closed in 2017.


Mondelez – investigation opening

On 28 January 2021, the Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Mondelēz has restricted competition in a range of national markets for chocolate, biscuits and coffee by hindering the cross-border trade of these products between EU Member States, which would be in breach of EU antitrust rules. (See Press Release)




AB InBev fined €200 million for restricting cross-border sales of beer

In June 2016, the Commission opened an antitrust investigation to assess whether AB InBev abused its dominant position on the Belgian beer market by hindering imports of its beer from neighbouring countries, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The Commission’s final decision of 13th May 2019 concludes that AB InBev is dominant on the Belgian beer market.  AB InBev abused its dominant market position in Belgium by pursuing a deliberate strategy to restrict the possibility for supermarkets and wholesalers to buy Jupiler beer at lower prices in the Netherlands and to import it into Belgium. The overall objective of this strategy was to maintain higher prices in Belgium by limiting imports of less expensive Jupiler beer products from the Netherlands.

Infographic_AB InBev


Anheuser-Busch InBev NV/SA (AB InBev) is the world's largest beer brewer. Its most popular beer brand in Belgium is Jupiler, which represents approximately 40% of the total Belgian beer market in terms of sales volume. AB InBev also sells Jupiler beer in other EU Member States, including the Netherlands and France. In the Netherlands, AB InBev sells Jupiler to retailers and wholesalers at lower prices than in Belgium due to increased competition. (See Press Release)


The Commission is looking into an alleged infringement of EU antitrust rules that prohibit agreements between undertakings (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) by some supermarket chains and some alliances of supermarket chains. The Commission, accompanied by national competition authorities, carried out several inspections at the premises of certain supermarket chains and alliances of supermarket chains, in France and Belgium. Inspections were carried out at the premises of two major food retailers in France (see press release). The investigation concerns possible competition infringements linked to the commercial strategies of some supermarket chains and to the procurement by some supermarket chains and alliances of supermarket chains of a large range of everyday consumer goods.  In November 2019, the European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether two French groups of retails, Casino Guichard-Perrachon (Casino) and Les Mousqutaires (Intermarché) had coordinated their conduct in the market in breach of EU Competition Rules. (see  Press Release)


Case AT.39188 - Bananas

In October 2008, the Commission fined banana suppliers €60.3 million for running a price fixing cartel.  During the relevant period the importers of leading brands of bananas into the eight EU Member States principally served by North European ports set and then announced every Thursday morning their reference price (their “quotation price”) for the following week. On numerous occasions over the three year period there were bilateral phone calls among the companies, usually the day before they set their price. During these calls, the companies discussed or disclosed their pricing intentions: how they saw the price evolving or whether they intended to maintain, increase or decrease the quotation price. (See Press Release)

Case AT.39482 – Exotic Fruit

In October 2011, the Commission imposed a €8.9 million fine in a second banana cartel.  This time it affected consumers in Italy, Greece and Portugal. The first cartel, established in a decision of 2008, concerned Germany and seven other northern EU countries (see IP/08/1509). The cartel was operated by Pacific Fruit and Chiquita, two of the main importers and sellers of bananas in the EU. During the period July 2004–April 2005 they fixed weekly sales prices and exchanged price information in relation to their respective e brands. By doing so, they directly harmed consumers in the countries concerned. (See Press Release)

AT.39633 – Shrimps

On 27th November 2013, the European Commission fined four European North Sea shrimps traders a total of € 28 716 000 for operating a cartel in breach of EU antitrust rules. The purpose of the cartel was to freeze the market by stabilising the suppliers' market shares in order to facilitate price increases and stimulate profitability. The cartel affected the EU market and sales in Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands in particular.

The cartel took the form of a range of informal bilateral contacts primarily between Heiploeg and Klaas Puul but also involving Stührk and Kok Seafood. The discussions usually covered a wide range of aspects of their business, including their purchase prices from fishermen, conduct towards other traders on the market, market sharing, and prices charged to specific important customers that often set the benchmark price for other customers. (See Press Release)

AT.39965 – Canned Mushrooms

On 25th June 2014, the European Commission Commission fined three producers of canned mushrooms € 32 million in cartel settlement. The cartel covered the sales of private label canned mushrooms via tender procedures to retailers and food wholesalers such as cash and carry companies and professional customers such as catering companies in the European Economic Area (EEA).

The overall aim of the cartelists was to stabilise the market shares of the companies involved and stop the decline of prices. To achieve this aim the cartel members exchanged confidential information on tenders, set minimum prices, agreed on volume targets and allocated customers. The cartel was a non-aggression pact with a compensation scheme in case of customer transfer and application of minimum prices, which had been agreed beforehand. (See Press Release)

AT.40127 Canned Vegetables

On 27th September 2019t he European Commission fined Coroos and Groupe CECAB a total of € 31 647 000 for breaching EU antitrust rules. Bonduelle was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. The Commission found that Bonduelle, Coroos and Groupe CECAB participated for more than 13 years in a cartel for the supply of certain types of canned vegetables to retailers and/or food service companies in the European Economic Area (EEA). The three companies admitted their involvement in the cartel and agreed to settle the case.

The aim of the three companies involved in the cartel was to preserve or strengthen their position on the market, to maintain or increase selling prices, to reduce uncertainty regarding their future commercial conduct and to formulate and control marketing and trading conditions to their advantage. To achieve this aim, the companies set prices, agreed on market shares and volume quotas, allocated customers and markets, coordinated their replies to tenders, and exchanged commercially sensitive information. (See Press Release)

Commission Decisions

Court Decisions