Last updated on June 14th, 2023 at 08:51 am
On June 7, the National Grocers Association concluded its second Fly-In for Fair Competition, an event whose main policy focus is enforcing and strengthening the Robinson-Patman Act, a 1930s’ era law that prohibits price discrimination against smaller retailers.
Independent grocers engaged with congressional offices about the importance of acting now to end dominant food retailers’ anti-competitive tactics. Additionally, NGA members advocated for reforming credit card routing to lower swipe fees by passing the Credit Card Competition Act, legislation introduced during the fly-in.
NGA members also discussed the importance of grocery retail remaining at the center of a Farm Bill to ensure independents can continue delivering nutrition assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
“Over the last two days, America’s independent, community grocers sent a resounding message to lawmakers on Capitol Hill: It’s time to level the playing field to prevent big box retailers from rigging the rules in their favor to squeeze out smaller competitors,” Greg Ferrara, president and CEO, said in a statement.
“NGA members held nearly 200 meetings with members of Congress yesterday to call for an end to discriminatory conduct that hurts independent grocers and the communities that rely on them. Now it’s time for lawmakers to step up to the plate and deliver for small businesses.”
The two-day Fly-In for Fair Competition began on June 6 with NGA’s government relations committee meeting, followed by informative sessions on excessive swipe fees and the Farm Bill. The first day concluded with attendees hearing from Chris Stirewalt, current politics editor of News Nation and former political editor of Fox News.
“Unchecked dominant firms in the grocery marketplace leave independent grocers and their customers with less choice, fewer options, and, in the end, a higher receipt for the goods and products they purchase,” said Christopher Jones, SVP of government relations and counsel.
“NGA’s independent grocery members are at the heart of the communities they serve, delivering jobs, choice, convenience and value to millions of hard-working Americans. And they accomplish all this while being dealt a bad hand by Washington. With a level playing field, there is no telling what independent grocers could accomplish.”
Following the meetings on June 6, NGA held a Congressional Best Bagger Showdown between Karli West, the winner of this year’s Best Bagger Championship and U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens (UT).
West, of Macey’s in Utah, won this year’s Best Bagger Championship in February at The NGA Show. The Best Bagger Championship, sponsored by PepsiCo, is held annually during The NGA Show to showcase the talents of the nation’s best grocery baggers in a fun and competitive atmosphere. Contestants are judged by speed, proper bag building technique, weight distribution in the bag, as well as style, attitude and appearance.
“The return of the Congressional Best Bagger Showdown is a fantastic way to end NGA’s Fly-In for Fair Competition, which brought independent grocers from throughout the U.S. to Washington D.C. to advocate for a level playing field in the grocery industry through antitrust reform and enforcement,” Ferrara said.
“Grocery bagging is one of the many ways in which independent grocery employees connect with their community and it’s always rewarding to come together and highlight this important skill. I appreciate Rep. Owens for taking the time to compete in this fun event against a fellow Utahan.”