Groceries survey shows UK supermarket compliance at record high
Early analysis of suppliers’ responses to the comprehensive annual groceries sector survey has shown that retailer compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice is at “an all-time high”.
UK supermarkets have achieved a record improvement in their dealings with groceries suppliers, UK Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon has revealed in her final GCA survey.
Almost 1,500 direct suppliers to the 13 regulated supermarket retailers completed the survey and 36 percent said they had experienced a Code-related issue at any point in the past 12 months – down from 41 percent in 2019 and 79 percent in 2014 when the survey was first conducted.
This was said to be a particularly striking result as the survey period included three weeks when the sector was facing the challenge of huge increases in consumer buying of certain products as the COVID-19 emergency hit.
In addition, direct suppliers recognised improvements across every Code-related issue. The most common issues experienced by suppliers in 2020 related to forecasting, delay in payments and de-listing. Each of these is now at its lowest reported level – at 13 percent, 12 percent and 12 percent respectively.
In comparison, 35 percent of suppliers reported experiencing delay in payments in 2014, 33 percent experienced issues with forecasting and 22 percent with de-listing. The most reported issue in 2014 – forensic auditing – which 45 percent of suppliers highlighted, is now at five percent.
“This is my final survey as GCA as I will be stepping down later in 2020 after seven years in the role and it tells an extremely positive story,” Tacon said.
“I am delighted to report that in a year when an additional retailer – TJ Morris – was included in the survey and the sector faced the challenge of COVID-19 my survey demonstrates that UK supermarkets continue to make substantial progress.
“The survey period included three weeks when the sector was under huge pressure but the data shows no adverse impact on compliance with the Code as retailers and suppliers raced to keep supermarket shelves filled.
“Indeed it corroborates my own discussions with the retailers who have told me not one supplier has raised an issue with their Code Compliance Officers or asked for an issue to be escalated. I made it clear in my position statement issued on 17 March that suppliers should not wait to raise issues with retailers.
“This is a testament to the stronger and more effective communication between retailers and suppliers which the GCA has fostered over the past seven years and which has proved so valuable during this emergency.
“It also demonstrates that the Code has provided the flexibility retailers need to maintain a vital and efficient supply chain that is getting groceries to the consumer.”