Suppliers urged to learn Groceries Code

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Christine Tacon urged food and drink suppliers to familiarise themselves with the Grocery Supply Code of Practice
Christine Tacon urged food and drink suppliers to familiarise themselves with the Grocery Supply Code of Practice

Related tags Supermarket

Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon has urged food and drink suppliers to familiarise themselves with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), in order to strengthen their hand in negotiations with retailers.

Speaking at The Food Club International’s meeting last week (September 7), Tacon said suppliers could fair better in negotiations with retailers if they had deeper insight into the code.

“What I’m trying to say to suppliers is that you must get trained in the code,” ​she said. “If you ​[suppliers] get trained in negotiating, then of course you need to get trained in the code, because it is there to protect you.

“All of the retailers have to be trained every year in the code, so they are right on top of it. That doesn’t mean to say they won’t try to put their foot over the line every now-and-then, so suppliers need to be ready to stamp on that foot when that happens.”

‘Put their foot over the line’

Tacon continued to urge suppleirs to notify her of any breaches made to the GSCOP code.

 “I do struggle with getting suppliers to talk to me. Whenever I go to an event like this, I generally offer an opportunity for suppliers to have one-to-ones with me – people do talk to me and they do tell me things,” ​she said.

“What they don’t do is pick up the phone and tell me ‘can you believe what so-and-so is doing at the moment?’. When that does happen, that means I can act very, very quickly. I need that to happen far more often.”

According to Tacon’s last survey of suppliers, 47% said they didn’t raise problems because they thought the retailer would find out and there would be retribution, while 43% thought they could address the issues themselves.

‘Desperately want to protect their business’

She added: “I encourage suppliers to raise issues with code compliance officers, because they are people who desperately want to protect their business from me getting involved in investigating them. It’s time to speak up.”

Meanwhile, Asda avoided a fine for breaches to the code earlier this week, after it was found to be demanding up-front payments from suppliers worth a quarter of the value of annual sales to keep their products on the supermarket’s shelves.

Suppliers that refused to pay were threatened with being delisted by the retailer. Other charges included cost price reductions demanded from suppliers with 24 hours notice under Asda’s project renewal plan.

However, the supermarket was not fined for these breaches, as it had proved it had “proactively engaged with suppliers to rectify any lump sum arrangements, which should not have been made” ​and put safeguards in place to prevent any further breaches, said Tacon.

Related topics Legal Supply Chain

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1 comment

GSCOP training for suppliers

Posted by Pippa, - we are a well respected training provider for GSCOP for suppliers. This year we have worked with a large number of suppliers across the grocery sector to strengthen their negotiating position through a good understanding of the regulations which are there to protect them. If you are going to a meeting with little to no GSCOP knowledge you are not truly prepared!

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