PurposeThe 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/approachGrounded 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.FindingsFrom 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/valueThe 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.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 7, 2017