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26 September 2017 | Online since 2003


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11 January 2017 11:36:32 |News,NFU,Supermarkets

NFU: 'Grocery Code has played a major role in changing culture of UK's 10 biggest retailers'


NFU has provided evidence to the GCA review

NFU has provided evidence to the GCA review

The National Farmers Union has said the Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA) has played a 'major role' in changing the culture and behaviours of the 10 biggest UK retailers.
The farming union has submitted evidence as part of a Government review into unfair trading practices, alongside the statutory review of the GCA role.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said he believes Christine Tacon’s clarity and interpretation of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) has led to significant changes.
Results from the GCA Annual Survey show that both Tesco and Iceland, over the past 12 months, have improved the most in changing their trading practice.
Tesco improved from 37% in 2015 compliant with GSCOP, to 65% in 2016 and Iceland from 3% to 26% compliant.
Improvements still need to be made by Morrisons, however, who ranked bottom of the league table when comparing all retailers overall assessment of compliance with the Code. Aldi and Sainsbury’s were top.
'A change in retailer behaviour'
Mr Raymond said the GCA plays an 'important role' within the grocery sector.
He said: “Undoubtedly Mrs Tacon has had a positive impact since she took office in June 2013. The NFU believes the power of the GCA’s presence has enabled a change in retailer behaviour and therefore this way of working now needs to be replicated throughout the whole supply chain.
“It is also vital that the position remains independent. The power of intermediaries has increased in the years since the Competition Commissions investigation of 2008. Many businesses have increased their market power which they have been able to assert over suppliers and, to a lesser extent, retail customers as we have seen reported in the media over the past few months.
“The increasing consolidation of suppliers and processors within the supply chain, in turn reducing competition and increasing buying power, leads to a power imbalance within the supply chain; that of the intermediaries versus farming businesses. This has led to unfair trading practices to be pushed onto producers.
“The NFU believes more retailers, food service and food manufacturers should fall under the scope of GSCOP to ensure the principles of fair trading are inherent across the whole supply chain.”
Ornamental sector
The NFU is also calling for the ornamental horticultural sector (floriculture, nursery, Christmas trees) to be brought under the GSCOP legislation.
“The industry is worth £2 billion to the UK economy but direct suppliers do not fall within the definition of ‘groceries’ in the GSCOP. This means suppliers of flowers and plants to UK supermarkets do not have the protection the GSCOP or GCA provide.
“We would also like to see the principles of the agri-sector voluntary codes of practice, such as the Dairy and Livestock Voluntary Code, made compulsory and overseen by the GCA to give them more teeth.
“This will give primary producers the confidence that the supply chain is not abusing their buying power and position over that of the British farmer.”
Mr Raymond added: “Farmers need to have confidence in their trading relationships to be able to invest in their businesses. This allows them to innovate and become more efficient in producing quality British food.”


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