The European Commission has fined 8 food packaging manufacturers and 2 distributors 115.8 million euro because they kept the price of meat trays artificially high. One such cartel was also active in Belgium.
5 different cartels
The 10 companies which received the fine were all part of at least 1 of 5 separate cartels, setting up price arrangements all across Europe for polystyrene foam tray and polypropylene hard tray. Subsequently, they divided all retailers among themselves. These trays were used for cheese, meat, fish and pastry packages, with one of the cartels also active in Belgium from 2002 until 2007.
"Millions of consumers buying food for themselves and their families have potentially been hit by these cartels", Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. That is also why the fines are quite large: Italian companies Sirap-Gema and Coopbox were fined more than 33 million euro. Out of the companies involved in Belgium, German Silver Plastics received the biggest fine at 22.2 million euro. British Linpac was the whistleblower to reveal the cartels and will not be fined, because otherwise it would have been fined 145 million euro. The two distributors that received fines hail from Portugal and Great Britain.
The Belgian Competition Authority has similarly just fined the major Belgian supermarket chains and a range of cosmetics suppliers a record sum of 174 million euro for price deals. In Germany, Aldi and Metro were also forced to pay 151.6 million euro because of their price deals regarding food. France also had to deal with its own price deal scandal: in December 2014, L'Oréal and Unilever were some of the few who were fined 951.2 million euro because of price arrangements.