Consumer Voice for Fair Food Prices

Our global and national food systems are facing a crisis of unfair prices. Market concentration and weak competition are enabling powerful actors to make record profits off the back of overcharged consumers and underpaid farmers. 

The causes of rising food prices are complex – conflict, COVID-19, and climate crisis have driven up costs for all marketplace actors. Yet there are clear signs that the economic impacts of these rising costs are not being shared evenly, and a growing recognition that unfair pricing (whether through anti-competitive practices, or simply overconcentration in the markets) is making the situation worse. Our background brief offers further detail on the challenge of unfair food prices. 

Consumer Voice for Fair Food Prices brings together consumer groups and competition authorities – especially in low and middle-income contexts where the impacts are most severe – to build momentum for action, by generating new evidence and shaping shared solutions. 

Read background brief

Taking action in Africa 

Eleven of the 22 ‘hunger hotspots’ identified by the World Food Programme (WFP) in 2023 are in sub-Saharan Africa, where staple food prices increased by an average of 23.9% between 2020-2022, and more than 90% of the population cannot afford a healthy diet. Yet in much of the continent, the role of stronger competition in delivering fairer prices has been under-appreciated. 

In 2023, Consumers International brought together competition authorities, trade ministries, and consumer groups from across 21 African countries, to share experiences of unfair prices, and explore national and regional solutions. Participants highlighted the clear threat of anti-competitive practices, the shortage of comprehensive evidence on this issue, and the need for closer collaboration in response, aligning across sectors and across borders. 

Learn more Op-ed in Food Tank

The Fair Food Price Monitor  

To fill this crucial evidence gap on fair food prices, both in Africa and in other regions, we developed a new tool for consumer organisations – the Fair Food Price Monitor, an early warning system for identifying potential cases of unfair pricing, based on comparison over time of prices at different stages of the value chain. 

At the Consumers International Global Congress in Nairobi, in December 2023, we launched three pilot evidence briefs – together with our members in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana – exposing a growing divergence between retail and wholesale prices in many key markets, that do not appear to be justified by rising business costs (such as fuel, and global commodity prices). 

Learn more

Building bridges for shared solutions 

Members in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana have also convened Fair Food Price Coalitions in each country – bringing together stakeholders including consumers, farmers, traders, workers, women, youth, and more – to share evidence of unfair prices, and advocate collectively for the solutions needed. 

In partnership with authorities in each country – the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) – members convened multi-stakeholder dialogues to launch these coalitions, and are continuing to work closely with these authorities to champion the importance of competition action to the rest of government. 

Next steps 

In 2024 we aim to maintain the momentum in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana, generating new evidence through the Fair Food Price Monitor and convening stakeholders to shape solutions. We will also work to apply and adapt this approach in other countries across Africa, and in other regions. 

Stronger action at international level is also needed to tackle excessive market concentration in global food systems. We highlighted this issue in a side event at the Committee on World Food Security, as well as at the UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy, and will be working to scale up action in this area in 2024. 

If you would like to join our work in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana, to help fight for fair food prices in other national and regional contexts, or to collaborate in driving action at global level please contact Davine: DMinayo@consint.org.   

Watch our side event on 'Fair food prices – unlocking multistakeholder action for inclusive and competitive markets prices' at CFS51.

news

Digital finance index shows progress in services - but not where consumers need it most

Today, Consumers International releases a new report, ‘Digital finance: The consumer experience in 2024’. In its second year, our annual index of digital financial services in low- and middle-income countries offers a unique perspective on digital financial services in low- and middle-income countries, derived from the experience of consumers themselves. It emphasises the need for a mindset shift, collaboration, and the significant role of consumer organisations in driving this change.

READ MORE

blog

Ashley Onyango, GSMA 'To deliver on its promises, digital financial services must hear the voice of consumers

This week, key players from across the connectivity ecosystem come together for GSMA MWC Barcelona, where innovations in financial technology will be on the agenda.

Ahead of that event, the GSMA took part in the launch of a new report by Consumers International which explores how to ensure these services deliver healthier, more resilient financial lives for the most vulnerable consumers.

READ MORE