2022 – UK regulator warns acquisition of Jus-Rol could hurt competition | Competition and Markets Authority

A British watchdog has warned that the French confectionery’s takeover of the Jus-Rol brand could hurt competition and lead to higher prices and lower quality products for customers.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it was particularly concerned about potential price increases for jus-roll items – which include puff pastry, short pastries, pizza and chocolate – as household budgets are strained by the cost-of-living crisis.

CĂ©rĂ©lia, the UK’s largest maker of home baking products, agreed to buy the brand from General Mills for an undisclosed amount in November. CMA said the deal means CĂ©rĂ©lia will manufacture and sell Jus-Rol in addition to its other brand-name products, leaving retailers with fewer alternatives.

“The CMA is therefore concerned that the loss of a business that is proscribed as an independent player could lead to higher prices for groceries – and ultimately consumers – and lower quality products,” the regulator said.

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The CMA, which submitted its first executive order in February, is now asking Jus-Rol and Cérélia to submit proposals within the next five days that may address their concerns. However, should those proposals fail, the regulator said it would continue its investigation, which could eventually lead to the deal being blocked.

Sorcha O’Carroll, Senior Director of Mergers at CMA, said: “Millions of people across the UK regularly use home-baked sourdough products, whether it’s to make pizza all week or breakfast pastries for their families to get ready for the weekend.

Consumers should know that they are getting value for money and not paying much for groceries, especially as the current cost of living crisis is putting even greater strain on people’s budgets. For this reason, we will not hesitate to forward this investigation if our concerns are not addressed.”