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Deceptive advertising and unfair commercial practices in the agrifood sector: The role of the Italian competition authority

Paolo Passarini (Department of Education, Cultural Heritage and Tourism, University of Macerata, Macerata, Italy)
Alessio Cavicchi (Department of Education, Cultural Heritage and Tourism, University of Macerata, Macerata, Italy)
Cristina Santini (Universita Telematica San Raffaele Roma Srl, Rome, Italy)
Gabriele Mazzantini (Ufficio Studi, Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, Rome, Italy)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The Italian legislature GAVE to the Italian Competition Authority has an increasingly prominent role for the consumer protection over the years, especially giving the possibility to impose fines against companies. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the Italian system of consumer protection, studying the impact of these fines on the Italian agrifood companies till 2012.

Design/methodology/approach

Grounded theory approach was used in order to formulate new hypothesis from emerging data. Information and data were collected through several sources: interviews with key informants of ICA, secondary data from ICA database, a survey run among companies that received a penalty from ICA during the period 2007-2012, companies website, LexisNexis database and National print and web media titles.

Findings

From the analysis it emerges that there is an accurate system planned for avoiding and limiting misleading practices. Firms in fact have been capable to adapt to the set of imposed rules and to reduce the efficacy of the proposed dissuasive system.

Originality/value

The originality of this study regards the way in which the consumer protection was investigated, in fact it takes into account the relationships between ICA and IAP, two of the most important players of consumer protection in Italy. Moreover, the study is focussed on the agrifood sector. The authors give some recommendations for future interventions focussing on the length of time of the process, which could have a positive impact on the effectiveness of sanctions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Disclaimer: the view expressed is that of the author and do not represent the position of the Italian Competition Authority nor do they commit in any way the Institution.

Citation

Passarini, P., Cavicchi, A., Santini, C. and Mazzantini, G. (2017), "Deceptive advertising and unfair commercial practices in the agrifood sector: The role of the Italian competition authority", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 8, pp. 1781-1800. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-12-2016-0600

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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