War has broken out between two of Australia’s largest coffee companies, with family-run Vittoria Coffee threatening legal action against Di Bella Coffee for accusing it of anti-competitive behaviour.
Di Bella founder Phillip Di Bella claims Vittoria has engaged in predatory pricing and abuse of market share in its month-long bid to lure cafés and restaurants.
He says recent contracts offered by Vittoria representatives are unclear and confusing.
“We don’t believe that Vittoria Coffee is informing people what’s in the contract,” Di Bella says. “It’s not a sour grapes thing. We’re both very successful companies. It’s not about publicity or increased sales.”
Di Bella says he has approached the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the matter because it is a third party.
The ACCC declined to comment.
But Vittoria – which dominates coffee sales in supermarkets – says it strongly denies Di Bella’s claims and it is yet to hear anything from Di Bella or the ACCC.
“We are unaware of any issue in relation to Vittoria Coffee,” said CEO Les Schirato in a statement.
“Vittoria will defend false allegations made by Di Bella Coffee and are exploring legal options against Di Bella Coffee.”
Di Bella, a member of the BRW Young Rich list, founded the eponymous business in 2002.
Vittoria is part of a third-generation family business called Cantarella Bros, which also distributes wine, tea, cheese, oil, mineral water and gelato.