Dairy UK chairman David Curry said this week that the OFT’s decision to reopen its investigation into grocery represented an opportunity for the dairy industry to make headway with the organisation.
Curry has previously called for the OFT to take better account of the problems confronting the dairy industry.
But in spite of an almost unanimous belief in all parts of the dairy supply chain that consolidation is vital to the survival of the sector, the OFT still intervened last month to refer a takeover of Scottish Milk Dairies by Robert Wiseman Dairies to the Competition Commission. The deal subsequently fell through.
However, Curry said that he was optimistic there would soon be a change of heart at the OFT, following the appointments of John Fingleton as chief executive and Philip Collins as chairman.
Curry said: “The industry is still too fragmented. We need to know from the OFT that if there is a case for consolidation it is not going to be thwarted. Their decision to reopen a case closed by their predecessors suggests a change of view, and that there is a new opportunity to make our case heard.”