The supermarket, is the second after Aldi, to unveil its commitment to the National Farmers Union (NFU) Fruit and Vegetable Pledge.
In July 2015, discount retailer Aldi unveiled its commitment to the pledge and revealed nine promises – including not forcing suppliers to fund promotions or to charge suppliers for customer complaints and paying the agreed price.
The NFU pledge champions best practice in the fresh produce sector and is designed to cultivate strong and longstanding relationships between retailers, intermediaries and growers.
‘Dedicated buying team’
The NFU said that as Lidl had a dedicated buying team and flat reporting structure, it had gained an in-depth understanding of the importance of developing long-term working practices with growers.
The pledge means that Lidl has committed to ensuring the security of its suppliers, fair terms, price certainty and has highlighted the elimination of waste.
The discount chain would also continue to step beyond those responsibilities by ensuring customers had faith in every step of its sourcing policy, said the NFU.
Lidl has pledged to continue its on-going promotional activity with growers, including the ‘Pick of the Week’ promotions, which are specifically designed to provide flexibility and offer security to its supply base through crop-availability-led planning.
‘Reward along the supply chain’
NFU horticulture and potatoes board chair Ali Capper said: “We are delighted that Lidl has publicly committed to our pledge, highlighting its commitment to long-term supply relationships, equitable distribution of reward along the supply chain, and fair and respectful trading relationships.
“Our goal is to generate integrity, honesty and openness across the market and that can only come from the key asks within our pledge – which includes price certainty, transparent working and strong, long-term relationships that are fair for everyone involved.”
Lidl had a long history of working closely with its suppliers and was an ideal candidate to make the pledge, added Capper.
She also told FoodManufacture.co.uk that if the scheme was successful in retail it might be extended to other food categories, including manufacturers.
Lidl UK’s commercial director Ryan McDonnell said: “We are very proud to have developed and maintained strong, long-standing relationships with all our suppliers, and our commitment to the NFU pledge cements this further.
“We’re also very keen to ensure that our sourcing process supports the growth and development of UK growers, which is vital in encouraging more and more people, particularly our shoppers, to regularly eat more fruit and veg.”
Read more about Aldi’s fruit and veg pledge here.
Lidl’s 11 commitments to the NFU Fruit and Vegetable Pledge
1. Treat all suppliers fairly, at all times and in accordance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice
2. Build long-term relationships with growers that offer greater certainty and stability
3. Offer production programmes as far in advance as possible of the crop being required
4. Offer greater price certainty to growers
5. Pay all suppliers on time, in full and always consult with suppliers in advance of any changes to payment terms and conditions
6. Seek to plan promotional activity in advance with growers and seek to adopt a flexible, production led approach to the timing of promotions
7. Reduce wastage, eliminate costs and add more value to the supply chain by seeking out opportunities to utilise the whole crop and adopting realistic product specifications
8. Communicate directly with grower suppliers so that they can better understand consumers’ needs and the production challenges that growers face and be flexible to changes in supply
9. Seek to adopt a joined up business plan across all aspects of your business and throughout your supply chain
10. When in season, commit to increasing the proportion of British fruit and vegetables that are available for consumers to buy
11. Contribute to investment in horticultural research, development and product innovation that benefits consumers