Ireland's Groceries Order, which has outlawed below-cost selling, was finally abolished this week, prompting calls from the Irish Consumers' Association for the multiples to start cutting prices.
Chief executive Dermott Jewell said the way was now clear for retailers to pass on the off-invoice discounts they receive from suppliers, previously blocked by the order.
"They have been holding on to these discounts for years and we want to see them coming back to consumers in lower prices," said Jewell, "not in value cards and other complicated systems that are a huge winner for the supermarkets."
None of the chains has discussed its plans yet. Tesco spokesman Dermot Breen has been quoted as saying cuts would take place on a wider but long-term basis, while SuperValu promised more special offers but said it had no plans for "an immediate campaign".
In abolishing the order, trade and enterprise minister Micheál Martin said it had "acted against the interests of consumers". But he refused to speculate on what price reductions consumers could now expect, a point seized on by RGDATA, the independent grocers' lobby, which said this showed he didn't believe prices would fall.
RGDATA director general Tara Buckley urged the public to beware "pricing gimmicks and marketing ploys" instead of genuine cuts and insisted choice was being reduced.
The National Consumer Agency will be monitoring price trends. Chairman Ann Fitzgerald said that she would prefer "sustained reductions across the board, rather than a big bang".
However, a spokesman for the Irish food and drink industry questioned whether plans to have the Competition Authority police predatory pricing would work in practice. "Action can only be taken after the damage is done," he said.