PS12506 - Italian Competition Authority: Investigation launched into Balocco for unfair business practices
According to the Authority, consumers might think that, by purchasing the Ferragni-branded pandoro, they were contributing to a donation in favour of the Regina Margherita hospital in Turin. The company, on the other hand, had already decided on the amount regardless of the sales performance of the product
The Italian Competition Authority has opened an investigation into Balocco S.p.A. Industria Dolciaria for alleged unfair commercial practices in relation to the commercial initiative ‘Chiara Ferragni and Balocco together for the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin’ promoted between November and December 2022. During that period, the company marketed limited-edition Ferragni-branded pandoro to support research into osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma for the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin.
According to the Authority, both in press releases and on the packaging of the pandoro, the way the initiative was presented could have misled consumers by appealing to their sensitivity for socially motivated charitable initiatives. Consumers, in fact, might have been led to believe that, by buying Ferragni-branded pandoro, they were contributing to the donation for the purchase of a new machine, whereas Balocco had arranged for a fixed amount to be donated to the hospital several months prior to the advertising launch of the initiative, i.e. completely independently of the sales performance of the product.
Today, Authority officials carried out inspections at the offices of Balocco S.p.A. Industria Dolciaria, with the assistance of the Special Antitrust Unit of the Italian Finance Police.
Rome, 14 June 2023