The chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business today called for investigations into slotting fees that marketers pay to get their products on store shelves, after his committee heard several witnesses testify that grocers' demands for the fees and manufacturers' offers were stymieing innovation and being unlawfully used to keep out competitors. Two marketers of small products were brought into the hearing with bags over their heads to testify behind a screen and with their voices disguised about demands and threats. Commit-tee Chairman Kit Bond (R., Mo.) called for probes by the General Accounting Office and Federal Trade Commission. He also said a number of small marketers expressed outrage over grocer demands but feared retaliation for testifying. A spokesman for the Food Marketing Institute said the hearing will likely spur efforts to develop an industry code on permissible slotting activities.
Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.