Groceries Code protects Ocado suppliers

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Ocado and B&M are the latest retailers to fall under the Groceries Supply Code of Practice
Ocado and B&M are the latest retailers to fall under the Groceries Supply Code of Practice
Food and drink suppliers to retailers Ocado and B&M will now fall under the protection of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), preventing the companies from abusing their commercial power.

The Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA) today revealed that the retailers now fell under the jurisdiction of the Code, after their turnover exceeded £1bn – the threshold beyond which grocery businesses have to abide by the Code. 

Suppliers to B&M and Ocado will now benefit from measures designed to prevent retailers bound by the Code from making changes to the terms of supply retrospectively, with the retailers required to provide notice of, and reasons for, no longer using a supplier.

‘Level playing field’

Peter Hill, head of remedies enforcement at the CMA, said: “These rules mean that suppliers are protected from unfair business practices, and retailers can trade with confidence on a level playing field.”

B&M and Ocado join likes of Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s in having to conform to the GSCOP.

Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christin Tacon welcomed the CMA’s announcement and said she was looking forward to working with the two retailers.

‘Suppliers need to speak up’

She added: “Suppliers need to speak up and tell me what issues they are experiencing with any of the designated retailers. I will be writing to these retailers and expect to meet their Code Compliance Officers in coming weeks.”

Tacon was reappointed as GCA in June last year, a role she has held since 2010. She has repeatedly urged food and drink manufacturers to be more honest about retailer malpractice if they want supply arrangements to improve, and called on them to learn the GSCOP in order to strengthen their hand in negotiations with retailers.

Meanwhile, in June, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and the Co-operative took the top four spots – in that order – in the GCA’s improvement table for compliance with the GSCOP​.

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