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The NFU View On Supermarket Corruption

by 5m Editor
31 October 2007, at 10:51am

UK - Action to curb supermarket malpractice is urgently needed, says the NFU, on the back of the Competition Commission's provisional findings, published today (Wednesday), that the major supermarkets are guilty of "transferring excessive risk and cost to suppliers through various purchasing practices", and its warning that this could damage innovation and investment to the ultimate detriment of consumers.

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"A tougher code, independently monitored, will provide the basis to dispel the culture of fear in the supermarket food supply chain, and replace conflict and suspicion with transparency and trust."

FU President, Peter Kendall.

Commenting on the Commission's findings, NFU President, Peter Kendall, said: "We submitted detailed evidence on the widespread abuse of supermarket power, and we are not in the least bit surprised that the Competition Commission has accepted that this has happened and does need to be addressed.

"It is in everyone's interests that the food supply chain is vibrant, dynamic, transparent and profitable, so that farmers and growers are able to supply the quality and choice that consumers expect and deserve.

"The NFU is committed to working with the major retailers and other customers to forge strong business relationships in the supply chain that will deliver the goods for all concerned.

"But in the light of the practices exposed by the Competition Commission, there is a clear need for a much tighter code of practice to govern supermarkets' relationships with their suppliers, and for that code to be enforced, either by the Office of Fair Trading or by some other independent third party such as an adjudicator or ombudsman. We are pleased that both of these options feature in the Commission's 'list of possible remedies'.

"A tougher code, independently monitored, will provide the basis to dispel the culture of fear in the supermarket food supply chain, and replace conflict and suspicion with transparency and trust."

Mr Kendall said that the NFU would be submitting detailed evidence to the next stage of the Commission's inquiry and looked forward to playing a constructive part in putting in place arrangements to ensure fair and enforceable terms of trade for supermarket suppliers.

5m Editor