Whistleblowers keep silent for lack of trust

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

Complaints about supermarkets continue to feature in our state-of-the-industry survey: Rick Pendrous
Complaints about supermarkets continue to feature in our state-of-the-industry survey: Rick Pendrous

Related tags: Groceries supply code, Supermarket

Supermarkets appear to be treating their suppliers a little better over the past year, according to a survey conducted by the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon.

But, it’s all relative since 70% of the 1,141 suppliers that responded to the survey reported at least one problem related to the Groceries Supply Code of Practice over the past year. Although down on the 79% figure reported last year, it’s still an awful lot of complaints.

The GCA’s findings support the general view expressed by Food Manufacture’s​ state-of-the-industry survey​, in which complaints about the supermarkets continued to feature large.

The improvement seen by Tacon could be down to the high profile investigation she launched into Tesco’s treatment of its suppliers following the discovery of a £263M accounting scandal last year. That’s a belief that Tacon is said to hold. But she also recognises there is still a long way to go before things really improve.

Top five complaints

The top five complaints relate to delays in payments; changes to contract terms; additional charges for consumer complaints about products; demands for contributions to marketing costs; and the lack of compensation for retailer forecasting errors.

The problem of suppliers not raising their heads above the parapet for fear of being delisted by supermarkets is a persistant theme, which is preventing Tacon from making as much progress as she would like.

Thus, as with the problems of getting suppliers to share intelligence with the authorities about potential food fraud for fear of being targeted themselves, whistleblowing about trade disputes is also thin on the ground. Trust is clearly in very short supply.

Meanwhile, don't miss reading the key conclusions of Food Manufacture’s​ state-of-the-industry survey​.

Top five supplier complaints about supermarkets

  1. Delays in payments
  2. Changes to contract terms
  3. Additional charges for consumer complaints about products
  4. Demands for contributions to marketing costs
  5. Lack of compensation for retailer forecasting errors.

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