This is part of an extensive and ongoing investigation on food price hikes, inflation, and profits by food importers following an official complaint to the EU Commission by Alex Agius Saliba alleging that monopoly food importers in Malta are using their monopoly power to artificially keep the price of food products high. Initial findings of my investigation indicate that there is evidence that backs Alex Saliba’s claims when considering that the profitability and profits of a major food importer went up in 2022 (Francis Busuttil & Sons). On the other hand, major food importer Alf Mizzi & Sons are hiding the true size and extent of their business in the food importation market while concealing their financials and profitability over the years.
In the meantime, I could confirm from two separate owners of grocers or mini-markets who claim that they are being muscled by Alf Mizzi & Sons to preserve their monopoly and in doing so they are artificially keeping some food products’ prices high. These two grocers claim that as soon as they started importing products by parallel importers that are also imported by Alf Mizzi and & Sons, Alf Mizzi told these grocers that if they continued diversifying their import providers, Alf Mizzi would cut off all supply of all their products to them resulting in the grocers to forcefully buy from Alf Mizzi at Alf Mizzi’s designated prices.
Grocers can not afford to lose Alf Mizzi as their product provider because they provide a very large number of products that only they can provide. As for the products that are provided by both Alf Mizzi and other importers, Alf Mizzi is trying to mark up the price of these products with their monopoly.
Alf Mizzi & Sons have a public obligation to provide more transparency with their accounts and the activities of their business given that they are in a business that significantly affects the lives of the absolute majority of the Maltese people. The public has the right to know whether food importers have taken advantage of inflationary pressures to make even more profits. On the other hand, food importers have nothing to fear in being transparent if they want to prove Alex Agius Saliba wrong.