26th Jan


TFA Media Release No. 07 – Report on Tesco “Scratches the Surface” of Bad Practice

Report on Tesco “Scratches the Surface” of Bad Practice

The Tenant Farmers Association has welcomed today’s report of the Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, which has lifted the lid on bad practice amongst retailers.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “We have been saying for some time that major retailers have been failing to live up to the standards set out in the statutory code of practice for the groceries sector.  Such bad practice not only impacts upon suppliers directly but threatens the sustainability of the supply chain which will have long-term implications for domestic consumers, particularly in relation to food”.

“The Adjudicator’s report scratches the surface of bad practice and underlines the need for her to have further powers to investigate the true extent of retailer malpractice.  The Government has promised a review of the Adjudicator’s powers and the TFA argues this must be brought forward in the light of today’s report” said Mr Dunn.

“The Adjudicator must have the power of own initiative investigations.  Currently the Adjudicator can only act on complaints.  In the same way that OFSTED has the powers to investigate school performance on its own initiative on short notice, the same powers should be given to the Adjudicator to investigate code compliance amongst retailers.  If retailers were aware that they could be subject to a short notice investigation it should lead to improved practice,” said Mr Dunn.

“The Adjudicator also needs to be given a role to look at the whole of the supply chain.  Currently the rules allow for only direct supply contracts to be investigated.  Since the vast majority of farm produce passes through processors before hitting supermarket shelves, the Adjudicator is unable to consider the indirect impact of retailer activity on farmers.  We continue to have concerns about the manner in which Tesco secures milk for its vast number of stores and the impact that this has on grassroots dairy farmers.  None of this can be investigated under the current rules provided to the Adjudicator.  This anomaly needs to be resolved,” said Mr Dunn.

“Finally, whilst not wanting to give the Adjudicator the power to fix prices, the Adjudicator should have powers to investigate and report on the balance of pricing throughout the supply chain to ensure that each of those involved from farmer through to processor to retailer are receiving a fair level of benefit when prices are good or sharing in a fair level of the pain when prices fall.  This information will provide much needed transparency which will assist farmers and others in their negotiations with retailers”.

“Whilst low prices on supermarket shelves today might appear to be a good thing for consumers, if we lose a large part of our food production base as a result, in the long term we will all be losers,” said Mr Dunn.


Ref:  MR07

Date: 26 January 2016

Notes for Editors:

For further information contact George Dunn on 07721 998961 or the TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator Jenna Kirkpatrick on 0118 930 6130.

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