• Open Access

Is lack of retail competition in the grocery sector a public health issue?


Correspondence to:
Jon Wardle, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, Qld, 4006. Fax: (07) 3365 5442; e-mail: j.wardle@sph.uq.edu.au


Objectives: The economic implications of a lack of competition in the grocery retail sector are hotly contested. However, there are also significant health implications of such anti-competitive practices that seldom receive attention. This paper hopes to draw attention to the potential public health issues that arise as a result of lack of competition in the grocery retail sector.

Method: Relevant supporting literature was reviewed to explore the possible effects of market concentration on various health outcomes.

Results: High retailer concentration may adversely affect affordability, accessibility, quality, and choice of healthy food options to consumers. In turn this has significant implications for public health.

Implications: Unless these upstream factors are addressed through the development of healthy competition, policy public health programs aimed purely at encouraging the public to consume higher quantities of healthful foods may be rendered ineffective.