Grocery Code survey reveals suppliers’ concerns

Results from a survey revealed at the inaugural Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) conference in Westminster yesterday (23 June) showed that suppliers feared retribution if they reported mistreatment by retailers.

A survey carried out by YouGov was commissioned by the GCA to show progress and awareness of the code. Results revealed that 58% of suppliers gave “fear of retribution” as the main reason for not reporting issues to the GCA. Just over 40% said the main reason was they thought the GCA wouldn’t do anything about it.

Christine Tacon was appointed as the GCA last year to effectively implement the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), which seeks to protect suppliers from large retailers, and she spoke at the conference to report on her first year in the role.

The statistics also showed only around 20% of suppliers believed that retailers’ compliance with the code had improved since 2010.

A number of anonymous suppliers’ criticisms of the code were cited on the survey. One read: “Retailers pay it lip service at a senior level, but this doesn’t flow through to the actions taken by their buying teams on a daily basis.”

Tacon said that the survey results would act as a benchmark, and could be compared with results next year, when the GCA plans to repeat the survey to assess progress.

She added: “I am very pleased with the response to our first survey and to the quality of the feedback from all those who took the time to reply. Many responses support and provide further information about the issues raised with me directly by suppliers and others.”

Going forward, the GCA said the responses would be validated and action would be taken to address the concerns in the survey. She said building confidence among suppliers to raise issues and raising awareness of the code would be among the priorities.

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