Leading competition lawyers have warned pressure groups that a purely anti-supermarket approach is likely to be counter-productive with the Competition Commission (CC).
Speaking at a British Institute of International and Comparative Law conference on competition law, Dr Alan Riley of City University, London, said that anti-trust regulators would "shriek in horror" were some of the remedies proposed by campaign groups - such as the unbundling of Tesco or regulations on below-cost selling - be included as part of their submissions to the CC's formal market review.
He argued that some of the groups could distract the Competition Commission from focusing on the key issues of supermarket buying power and the fear factor felt by suppliers in dealing with the big chains.
Dr Riley said: "Regulators should not be dismissing complaints just because no supermarket reaches the dominance threshold."
He also said that there was evidence that the supermarkets' dominance of the supply chain could create a "waterbed" effect, which could force out independents.
ACS government relations manager Shane Brennan agreed with Dr Riley's suggestions. He said: "ACS has never been in the game of supermarket bashing. That is why we are seeking to provide as much evidence as possible to submit to the Competition Commission to help protect the sustainability of the grocery market."