The Retail Grocery Industry (Unit Pricing) Code of Conduct (the Code) is a mandatory industry code of conduct prescribed under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The Code requires certain grocery retailers to use unit pricing when selling particular grocery items to consumers.
The Code was introduced on 1 July 2009 and is scheduled to sunset (lapse) on 1 October 2021.
Remaking the Code
Following a review, the Government has decided to remake the Code without significant changes, so that unit pricing continues into the future. The key findings of the review, which found the Code to be operating efficiently and effectively, are available.
The remade Code is to be set out in the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes—Unit Pricing) Regulations 2021 and an exposure draft is available below for public comment.
Has anything changed?
The Code has been updated to reflect modern drafting standards, which involves:
- some reordering of the existing requirements to improve the readability of the Code, but which is not intended to alter existing requirements; and
- using technology neutral language.
The use of technology neutral language (i.e. using the term 'internet' in place of 'website') would allow the Code to be flexible in light of future internet-reliant technologies used by grocery retailers. The updated language affects two provisions. One defines an 'online grocery retailer' and the other defines when a unit price needs to be displayed in advertising.
With present technologies, it is expected that adopting the term 'internet' in preference to 'website' would have the effect of ensuring that internet-connected apps through which groceries are sold (by prescribed grocery retailers) would need to display unit prices in accordance with the Code. This already appears to be the case. However, the Government is seeking specific feedback on any potential effects of the proposed change.