Experienced FMCG executive named inaugural NZ grocery commissioner

Pierre van Heerden has become New Zealand’s first grocery commissioner at the Commerce Commission, effective July 13.

Van Heerden has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry and was most recently the GM of Zealandia Ecosanctuary and as the former CEO of Mojo Coffee.

Image source: LinkedIn

In his new role, he will oversee and monitor the conduct and competition of businesses in the marketplace and implement regulations brought forth by the Grocery Industry Competition Bill which was passed in late June, based on the findings of a government enquiry into the industry.

The law specifies Foodstuffs North Island, Foodstuffs South Island and Woolworths New Zealand as regulated grocery retailers (RGRs).

As such they are now required to “consider” requests made by other retailers for wholesale supply in “good faith” and follow the provisions of the Grocery Supply Code when dealing with suppliers.

Commerce Commission chair, John Small, said Van Heerden brings a “huge amount” of experience and knowledge about the grocery sector to this role.

“He is passionate about being a champion for Kiwi consumers – I know he sees the Grocery Industry Competition Act as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to level the playing field in the grocery sector.”

The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council CEO, Raewyn Bleakley, welcomed the appointment and added it is “a momentous day for the sector”.

“By holding supermarkets to account, the commissioner will help make a meaningful difference to competition and behaviour that shoppers and the sector so desperately want to see.”

Consumer NZ CEO, Jon Duffy, said this is an “important step” in the lengthy process required to introduce fairness, improve transparency and improve competition in the grocery sector.

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