Mills & Reeve Food and Agribusiness – 23rd June 2020
The latest newsletter from the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) has been published featuring the GCA’s response to Covid-19 and the 2020 survey results.
This is the final newsletter of Christine Tacon as the outgoing Grocery Code Adjudicator, the new GCA will be announced shortly and Christine Tacon will be staying on for a short period after 24 June to deal with any issues arising from changes to supply arrangements during the early stages of the emergency.
It is recognised the groceries sector has been operating at ‘full throttle’ throughout these immensely challenging times. Also that ‘the stronger and more effective communication between retailers and suppliers that the Code has helped to foster has shown its value in the current emergency and helped maintain very efficient supply chains especially in the early days when supplies of particular products came under huge pressure.’
The newsletter indicates that there has been very few if any issues raised from suppliers with Code Compliance Officers, it is not clear whether this shows an increased compliance, possibly due to an increase in consumer demand, or if issues are simply not being escalated. The newsletter states: “Since the beginning of the emergency I have been urging suppliers to raise any issues straightaway with the retailers. However, from my initial research there is no evidence that suppliers have been raising issues with the Code Compliance Officers or asking for buyers’ decisions to be escalated. If there are issues and they are brought to me for resolution I will as always deal with them on a case-by-case basis but they should first be raised with the retailers directly at the earliest opportunity.”
There are good news for producers from the 2020 survey result in the following three key findings:
- Despite including a three-week period covering the early, challenging days of COVID-19 and the inclusion of a new retailer the number of suppliers experiencing a Code-related issue fell to an all-time low. The figure is now just 36%, down from 79% in 2014.
- Suppliers recognised improvements across every Code-related issue and last year’s top concern for suppliers – forecasting – fell from 15% to 13%. Delay in payments and De-listing – the other most common issues experienced by suppliers – are both now at their lowest reported level at 12% apiece.
- Suppliers also reported a very high level of Code-compliant behaviour from retailers. In this year’s survey only three retailers were rated below 90% – which was the best score in 2014.
We at Mills & Reeve wish Christine Tacon all the best in her future endeavours.