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Groceries Adjudicator wants to hear from direct supermarket suppliers

13th Mar 2017 / By Alistair Driver

The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) is inviting pig industry businesses that supply retailers direct to two roundtable meetings during the spring.

Christine TaconThe GCA supplier workshops will take place on March 27, in London, and April 3, in Manchester.

For direct suppliers only, the discussions will focus on two of Adjudicator Christine Tacon’s ‘Top 5’ issues: ‘pay to stay’ and forecasting.

In a letter to NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford, Mrs Tacon (pictured) said: “There will be an opportunity for suppliers to hear more about my role at these events and for one-to-one meetings with me.”

Suppliers can register for the events at: enquiries@gca.gsi.gov.uk

Mrs Tacon, stressed that it was important for her hear at first-hand from direct suppliers of groceries about some of the issues affecting their supply to the 10 retailers regulated under the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP).

“Often it is with smaller groups of suppliers and in closed discussions that I get to hear about important information that helps me to monitor retailer compliance with the Code.”

She said she was willing to speak at events organised by NPA, large or small, where direct suppliers are present in the coming months, or to have one-to-one meetings with suppliers in private if they prefer.

A Sunday Times article highlighted some of the 'shocking' tactics supermarkets are using to obtain money from suppliers in­cluding demanding they pay up to £25,000 for charity dinner tickets, according to Mrs Tacon's investigations.

In one absurd example, a supermarket even charged a supplier £45 after a customer claimed to have found a teabag in an egg, the article said. The 'predatory practices' helped drive more than 150 food producers out of business last year, after 162 failures in 2015.

Extending Adjudicator powers

In its submission to a Government consultation on extending the GCA's powers, the NPA called for its remit to be extended beyond the retailer-processor relationship. It called for: 

  • The remit of the GCA to be extended to cover processors, food manufacturing plants and food service companies
  • The GSCOP turnover bracket to be reduced to £500 million
  • An agreed code of practice for processors covering trading practices and including fall-back pricing positions should there be disagreement between contracted parties
  • A standardised approach to deductions in processing plants with a clear understanding of how the costs are derived
  • The GCA to able to receive evidence from primary producers anonymously.