What the ACCC does

  • We enforce the food and grocery code.
  • We provide guidance material for industry participants about code obligations.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don't resolve disputes.
  • We don't provide legal advice.
  • We don't investigate individual supplier complaints about a retailer or wholesaler.

On this page

Grocery retailers and wholesalers who sign up are covered

The Food and Grocery Code of Conduct is a voluntary code under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

As a voluntary code, grocery retailers and wholesalers choose to sign up as signatories to the code. They are not automatically covered.

Once a retailer or wholesaler has signed up, they are bound by the obligations in the code. Signatories are subject to compliance and enforcement action by the ACCC.

Current signatories to the code

The following grocery retailers and wholesalers have signed up and are bound by the code:

  • ALDI (retailer) - signed up on 15 June 2015
  • Coles Supermarkets Australia (retailer) - signed up on 1 July 2015
  • Woolworths Limited (retailer) - signed up on 1 July 2015
  • Metcash Food and Grocery Pty Ltd (wholesaler) - signed up on 30 September 2020.

Suppliers don’t need to sign up to be covered

A ‘supplier’ is a business that supplies groceries for retail sale by another person or business.

If you supply products to a grocery retailer or wholesaler who is a signatory to the code, the code automatically applies to you. You don’t need to sign up to the code. The code does not override existing rules under competition and consumer law.

Groceries include food and other items

Groceries include the following items:

  • food, including fresh produce, meat and dairy items, other than dairy items sold for in store consumption
  • pet food
  • non alcoholic drinks, other than drinks sold for in store consumption
  • cleaning products
  • toiletries, perfumes and cosmetics
  • household goods, electrical appliances and kitchenware
  • clothing
  • ‘do it yourself’ products
  • pharmaceuticals
  • books, newspapers, magazines and greeting cards
  • CDs, DVDs, videos and audio tapes
  • toys
  • plants, flowers and gardening equipment
  • tobacco and tobacco products.

Glossary of key terms in the code

Some of the terms used in the code have particular definitions. For example, the terms ‘supplier’ and ‘grocery supply agreement’ both have specific meanings under the code.

We have a glossary of key terms used in the food and grocery code.

The code interacts with other codes of conduct

The Food and Grocery Code of Conduct does not apply if it conflicts with the mandatory Horticulture Code of Conduct or Franchising Code of Conduct.

The Dairy Code of Conduct applies to retailers, such as supermarkets, only to the extent that they buy milk directly from farmers. The relationship between dairy retailers and processors may be covered by the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

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