The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM), in collaboration with the French competition authority, has fined seven food companies for anti-competitive agreements in the sale of apple sauce. The ACM reports this on Wednesday. In total, fines of 58.3 million euros were awarded.

The companies are fined for making price agreements in secret and sharing the French market among themselves. A Dutch company (Coroos) was involved in this. Coroos is exempt from a fine because the company disclosed the cartel to the French market authority.

The cartel existed between 2010 and 2014. The companies supplied apple sauce for private labels of various supermarket chains and French hospitality and catering companies. Together, the companies owned more than 90 percent of the market.

The meetings between the parties were kept secret according to the ACM. The meetings of participants in the apple sauce cartel did not take place in the offices of the companies, but in different hotels and restaurants in France. The participants had separate cell phones for conducting their secret mutual consultations.