Italy’s antitrust agency has fined Unilever €60 million for abusing its dominant position in the country’s ice cream market through its Algida brand.
An investigation was launched in 2013 after a complaint was lodged by Italian fruit lollies brand La Bomba, claiming that Unilever had forced local retailers to not sell its products.
The probe found that Unilever’s clients were ‘obliged’ to sell only a single brand of ice cream, causing ‘substantial prejudice to the final decision of consumers’.
In a statement Unilever said it ‘firmly rejects’ the outcome of the investigation and announced its decision to lodge an appeal.
It said: “Out-of-home ice cream is a highly competitive market, where artisanal and industrial products, both scooped or packaged, compete for consumer attention in a fragmented environment that it unparalleled in Europe.”
Unilever sells Carte d’Or, Cornetto and Magnum brands in Italy. In 2015, it acquired premium Italian gelato maker Grom.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017