Price Transparency as a Prerequisite for Fair Competition: The Case of the European Food Prices Monitoring Tool

  • Adrienn Molnár
  • Katrien Van Lembergen
  • Federico Tarantini
  • Aimé Heene
  • Xavier Gellynck
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 20)


In this chapter we examine the European Food Prices Monitoring Tool as a case study to improve price transparency and, as a result, competitiveness in the European food system. We first analyze the relation between price transparency and fair competition from a theoretical point of view. We then investigate agricultural and food prices evolution in the EU over the last decade, with a specific focus on the price transmission along the food supply chain. We follow with an assessment of the rationale for the price monitoring tool and analyze its functioning as a case study. We conclude with a few comments on how this tool can contribute to fair competition through an increase in price transparency.


Price Index Food Price Agricultural Commodity Food Processor National Statistical Institute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This chapter was prepared under the framework of the Transparent_Food (Quality and Integrity in Food: A Challenge for Chain Communication and Transparency Research) project. Transparent_Food is an integrated project financed by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013, grant agreement no. 24500). The information in this document reflects only the authors’ views and the Community is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The authors are grateful for the consortium members for their contributions.


  1. Abbott, P. 2009. Development dimensions of high food prices. OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Working Papers No. 18. doi:  10.1787/222521043712.
  2. Bukeviciute, L., A. Dierx, F. Ilzkovitz, and G. Roty. 2009a. Price transmission along the food supply chain in the European Union. 113th EAAE Seminar, “A resilient European food industry and food chain in a challenging world,” 3–6 September 2009, Chania, Crete, Greece, 17. Accessed 1 Sept 2012.
  3. Bukeviciute, L., A. Dierx, and F. Ilzkovitz. 2009b. The functioning of the food supply chain and its effect on food prices in the European Union. European Commission, Economic and Financial Affairs, Occasional Papers 47, May. Accessed 1 Sept 2012.
  4. CIAA. 2009. CIAA comments and reaction on the European Commission’s Communication “Food Prices in Europe” – COM (2008) 821/4. Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  5. Dawe, D., and A. Doroudian. 2011. A simple monitoring tool to assess monthly changes in food prices. Food and Agriculture Organization. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  6. EC. 2008. Food prices in Europe. COM(2008) 821/4. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  7. EC. 2009a. Analysis of price transmission along the food supply chain in the EU. SEC(2009) 1450. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  8. EC. 2009b. A better functioning food supply chain in Europe. COM(2009) 591. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. 17 Jan 2012.
  9. EC. 2009c. A better functioning food supply chain in Europe. Press Release, MEMO/09/483. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  10. EC. 2009d. Agricultural commodity derivative markets: The way ahead. SEC(2009) 1447. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  11. EC. 2009e. Improving price transparency along the food supply chain for consumers and policy makers. SEC(2009) 1446. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  12. EC-Eurostat. 2009. A European food prices monitoring tool: A first design. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  13. EU. 2008. Consolidated version of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union. Official Journal of the European Union 9.5.2008, C115/47–C115/199. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  14. EU. 2011. Guidelines on the applicability of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to horizontal co-operation agreements. Official Journal of the European Union 14.1.2011, C 11/1–C 11/72. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  15. EUCOLAIT. 2010. EUCOLAIT comments on the recommendations of the High Level Experts Group on Milk. European Association of Dairy Trade. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  16. European Dairy Association (EDA). 2010. Position paper: EDA’s position on High Level Expert Group on milk recommendations. European Dairy Association. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  17. European Parliament and Council (EPC). 1997. Directive concerning misleading advertisings so as to include comparative advertising. Directive 97/55/EC. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  18. European Parliament and Council (EPC). 2004. Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Directive 2004/48/EC. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  19. European Parliament and Council (EPC). 2005. Directive concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market. Directive 2005/29/EC. Accessed 17 Jan 2012.
  20. Gaudin, S. 2006. Effect of price information on residential water demand. Applied Economics 38(4): 383–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ilzkovitz, F., A. Dierx, V. Kovacs, and N. Sousa. 2007. Steps towards a deeper economic integration: The internal market in the 21st century. European Economy, European Commission, Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, Economic Papers, No. 271, January 1988.Google Scholar
  22. Kaplan, R.S. 1983. Measuring manufacturing performance: A new challenge for managerial accounting research. The Accounting Review 58(4): 686.Google Scholar
  23. Lucas, L. 2011. Food producers plan price increases. Financial Times, November 24.Google Scholar
  24. Lyon, G., and B. Reimers. 2011. Motion for a resolution. European Parliament. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  25. Mollgaard, H.P., and P.B. Overgaard. 2001. Market transparency and competition policy. Rivista di Politica Economica 91(4–5): 11–58.Google Scholar
  26. NAMC. 2011. Food price monitoring. National Agricultural Marketing Council. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  27. New Europe. 2008. EU enforces transparency in air travel sector. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  28. OECD. 2001. Price transparency. Directorate for Financial, Fiscal and Enterprise Affairs/Committee on Competition Law and Policy. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  29. OECD. 2006. Policy brief: What is competition on the merits? Accessed 17 June 2011.
  30. Sanchez, R., and A. Heene. 2004. The new strategic management: Organization, competition, and competences. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  31. Vidal, J. 2011. Food speculation: “People die from hunger while banks make a killing on food.” Guardian, January 23. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  32. Ward, R.W. 1982. Asymmetry in retail, wholesale, and shipping point pricing for fresh vegetables. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 62: 205–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zainal, Z. 2007. Case study as a research method. Jurnal Kemanusiaan 9: 6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrienn Molnár
    • 1
  • Katrien Van Lembergen
    • 2
  • Federico Tarantini
    • 3
  • Aimé Heene
    • 4
  • Xavier Gellynck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural EconomicsGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Bio- and Food Sciences Department, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity College GhentMelleBelgium
  3. 3.European Economic Integration and Business ProgrammeCollege of EuropeBrugesBelgium
  4. 4.Department of ManagementGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations