Media coverage

The following are examples of Christine’s coverage in the media.


The Grocer: 27/11/17

Time for a new approach to food assurance  

Does anyone remember the Efra Committee episode where Neil Parish et al tried to get Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon to answer questions on farmgate prices, despite the fact her role doesn’t have anything to do with meat and dairy farmers, or pricing?

Well, if you thought that was uncomfortable viewing, try and get hold of the tapes of the Committee’s latest inquiry into 2 Sisters and standards in poultry processing. If Parish and co’s cringeworthy questioning of Tacon was reminiscent of a bad reality TV show, their interrogation of FSA CEO Jason Feeney and others responsible for UK food safety and assurance was as relentless as The Revenant.

Their final report on the inquiry was equally damning, describing the current UK food assurance system as patchy, full of loopholes and easy to game.

In fairness to the MPs, I think most of the British public would share their outrage that, nearly five years on from Horsegate, we are dealing with yet another meat industry scandal. And just like with horsemeat, the evidence suggests this wasn’t a misdemeanour by a dodgy backstreet butcher – it was a major failure in process at one of the UK’s biggest meat suppliers, which has every accreditation under the sun.

And while horsemeat was at least brought to public attention by regulators, this latest scandal was only uncovered thanks to a tenacious undercover journalist. Had the Guardian and ITV not chosen to investigate the plant, it might still be operating in the same way.

That’s a sobering thought. And – in the words of Efra’s report – it should be a wake-up call, not only for accreditation firms but for the entire food industry.

Everyone – from food safety experts to industry leaders and trade unionists – seems to agree the current system of assurance is broken. We are in the ridiculous situation where the UK food industry is more audited than ever – which is ultimately driving up prices for the consumer – but no one is any safer than before.

In the words of Dawn Welham, technical director at Authenticate IS and president elect of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, any competent business can pass an audit. But to keep our food safe, we need to separate out the businesses that continue to do the right thing when no one is looking, from those who don’t.

It’s time for a new approach, and some much more probing questions.

Carina Perkins


Food Manufacture: 20/07/2017

Food Suppliers ‘Must Open Up About Retailer Abuse’

Suppliers were “finally opening up” but could still be “more forthcoming” in coming forward with their issues with retailers, Christine Tacon claimed.

Writing in her Annual Report and Accounts for 2016-2017, published at the end of June, Tacon reassured suppliers’ that their identities would be protected. “Trade associations have an important role to play in this they could do more to assist the flow of information to my office,” she added.

Tacon’s concerns followed the publication of an annual GCA survey of direct suppliers that signalled an improvement in relations with retailers for the fourth year running.

Read the full article here.

Farmers Weekly: 19/07/2017

‘Climate Of Fear’ Must Be Tackled In Grocery Market

The supermarket watchdog is making significant progress tackling unfair trading in the grocery supply chain, but more must be done to tackle the “climate of fear” that stops suppliers speaking out.

That is the conclusion of the government’s statutory review of the Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA), which also said the GCA had led to a positive “cultural shift” among supermarkets in the way they treat their suppliers.

There is, however, more to be done,” – Margot James, minister for small business.

Read the full article here.

Groceries Code Adjudicator Annual Conference Report

Annual Conference 2017 – press release-1

Groceries Code Review

Significant Cultural Change In Supermarket Industry

Small Business Minister Margot James has welcomed a positive relationship change between supermarkets and their suppliers, as she publishes the first Statutory Review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) today.

The review, which considered independent findings from YouGov alongside responses from trade associations, supermarkets and suppliers, found that the GCA, Christine Tacon CBE, has been effective in exercising her powers and enforcing the Groceries Code. Suppliers reported a positive change in their relationship with large retailers, as well as a major reduction in unfair trading practices. The number of suppliers who complained about being charged to remain on supermarkets’ supplier lists fell from 30% to 9% between 2014 and 2016, while problems with incorrect deductions from invoices fell from 47% to 30% over the same period.

 A number of respondents praised Ms Tacon personally, with one citing her “wealth of knowledge and skills”. Another commented that she “holds an in-depth knowledge of the sector that is hugely beneficial.

“This review highlights the excellent work of the Groceries Code Adjudicator over the past three years. It is vital that Government and the GCA continue working together to prevent unfair treatment of smaller suppliers.

“Poor supply chain practices have no place in an economy that works for all, and I want to thank Christine for her achievements in levelling the playing field and ensuring fair treatment of suppliers and retailers alike.” – Small Business Minister Margot James

Notes to Editors:

  • Established in 2013, the Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, is the UK’s first adjudicator of the groceries industry, overseeing the relationship between the 10 largest supermarket chains and their suppliers.
  • In June 2017 Ms Tacon was reappointed for a second term in the role, in which she is responsible for ensuring large supermarkets treat their direct suppliers fairly and lawfully.

Press Coverage: The Grocer

How the Adjudicator has changed grocery

The Groceries Code Adjudicator’s annual conference in Westminster carried additional significance this year as it marked the end of Christine Tacon’s first term and raised questions about the organisation’s long-term direction and future remit.

The organisation has undoubtedly had a positive impact on the grocery sector. Among the standout headlines in the latest GSCOP survey was that the number of suppliers experiencing potential breaches of the code has fallen by almost a third since 2014. The proportion now stands at 56%, down from 62% last year and a high of 79% in 2014.

There has also been a significant reduction in supplier complaints on thorny issues such as forensic auditing, unjustified charges and lump sum payments. But although the survey numbers are impressive, they don’t fully reflect the positive impact the GCA has had on grocery in the four years since it was launched.

Arguably, its most important achievement has been to bring about a change in culture and behaviour. It has encouraged supermarkets to reassess their relationships with suppliers to ensure there is a collaborative benefit for both parties.

The GCA has been effective in highlighting poor or unfair practices across the sector, which has resulted in a number of retailers changing the way they work with suppliers. This, in turn, has increased trust and transparency levels across the wider industry.

It was particularly pleasing to see a record number of suppliers participate in this year’s survey, including more than 500 suppliers to our business.

This is a clear indication that suppliers have the confidence to raise issues with the Adjudicator, which bodes well for the long-term future of Aldi and the wider sector.

From a retailer’s perspective, healthy supplier relationships that benefit both sides make sound commercial sense. This has been our approach ever since Aldi opened its first UK store more than a quarter of a century ago.

We believe in open, honest dialogue with our suppliers to give them clarity and stability in their dealings with us. This builds long-term relationships and allows us to provide great products to customers and a fair deal for our suppliers.

In practice this ensures that our suppliers do not make any financial commitments without a prior agreement from us on cost, specifications and volumes.

It means our suppliers are not placed under financial strain in supporting unnecessary bogofs, multibuy promotions or charges for better positioning of goods or increased shelf space. This keeps our sales volumes and buying patterns with suppliers stable and predictable through the year.

Thanks to this approach, we have topped the GCA’s survey for the fourth consecutive year, an achievement we are incredibly proud of, and one we are committed to maintaining by working together with our suppliers.

We believe the spotlight that has been focused on the relationships between retailers and suppliers is positive and something that the GCA deserves a huge amount of credit for.

Tony Baines is MD of corporate buying at Aldi UK

Read the article here


CCH Daily: 30/06/2017

People in the news.

Consumer Minister Margot James has announced the reappointment of Christine Tacon CBE as the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA). Having held the role since its launch, Tacon has overseen significant progress in compliance with the Groceries Code. In 2015 she investigated alleged Code breaches by Tesco, which resulted in the supermarket adopting fairer payment practices and improved transparency in all its dealings with suppliers.

Read the full article here

Farmers Weekly: 26/06/2017

Supermarket treatment of suppliers – the good, bad and ugly.

Asda and Iceland have come bottom of a league table ranking UK supermarkets on fair trading practices with suppliers, while Aldi and Sainsburys have come top.

Read the full article here

Horticulture Week: 26/06/2017

Unfair packaging charges reduced says adjudicator, but payment delays still troubling.

Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon says the latest polling data from supermarket suppliers “demonstrate major progress across key issues” during her four years in the role. But she says payment delays remain a major issue.

 “The overall fall is welcome, but the more dramatic data comes from looking at supplier experience of issues that I have identified among my Top Five, and where I have used collaborative or more formal regulatory action to drive change.”

The figures show a fall in suppliers experiencing:

  • “forensic auditing”  – from 45% in 2014, to 12% in 2017;
  • “margin maintenance” requests, from 36% in 2014 to 10%;
  • unjustified charges for consumer complaints, down from 37% to 12%;
  • unfair packaging and design charges, down from 24% to 11%;

 “Suppliers have found the issue of packaging and design charges to be an irritant for years. Recently a supplier in the fresh produce industry told me that that they had been trying to resolve the problem of overcharging in this area for more than 10 years. But within 18 months of me focusing on the problem he was pleased to say the issue had gone away.”


Read the article here

The Guardian: 26/06/2017

Asda is named worst supermarket in treatment of suppliers.

Asda has been named as the worst of the UK’s major supermarkets in its treatment of suppliers. It dropped below Morrisons, which was bottom of the list last year, as the Bradford-based chain took action to improve its performance according to a survey of more than 1,200 grocery suppliers by the industry watchdog.

“We’ve listened to the GCA and worked to improve our ways of working with suppliers to ensure we’re doing our job in the best way we can. This includes ensuring our smaller suppliers are paid within 14 days, simplifying our processes, and eliminating some of our supplier charges and audits. We will also be introducing further changes, including the expansion of a dedicated helpdesk to ensure our suppliers have a single point of contact to raise any concerns.”

Christine Tacon, the grocery code adjudicator who enforces the rules and has the power to fine retailers, said that she was generally pleased with progress since she came into office four years ago. She said more suppliers were getting involved as they found that she was able to bring about real change in the grocery market.


Read the full article here.

Fresh Produce Journal: 26/06/2017

Groceries Code Adjudicator agrees to a further year in the post, while new survey suggests her work is having a major impact.

Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon has confirmed that she will continue for a further year, while the new government evaluates the role’s remit.


“The overall fall is welcome, but the more dramatic data comes from looking at supplier experience of issues that I have identified among my Top 5 and where I have used collaborative or more formal regulatory action to drive change” 

She named her new Top 5 issues as delayed payments, forecasting, promotions, payments for better positioning and ‘pay to stay’.


“Suppliers have found the issue of packaging and design charges to be an irritant for years. Recently a supplier in the fresh produce industry told me that that they had been trying to resolve the problem of overcharging in this area for more than 10 years. But within 18 months of me focusing on the problem he was pleased to say the issue had gone away.”

“I see this as a sign that the collaborative approach that I have promoted has been a real engine of change and is achieving positive results across all retailers. I am delighted that suppliers are seeing the benefits of this change.”

Read the full article here


Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy: 26/06/2017

Christine Tacon reappointed as Groceries Code Adjudicator

Read the full article here

April 2017 - Watchdog to quiz Tesco on Clubcard firm's 'favouritism'

Evening Standard

April 2017 - Opinion: The future of the GCA

Vegetable Farmer

March 2017 - Supermarkets in 'bullies' quiz

Sunday Mirror

February 2017 - Adjudicator rules payment for shelf space is beyond remit

The Grocer

February 2017 - Adjudicator role extension review to be postponed

The Grocer

January 2017 - Supermarkets up their game in changing trading practices

Farm Week


November 2016 - Irish Farmers' Association event

Morning Ireland Radio interview

RTE News TV report including interview

Irish Times report

AgriLand: Absence of a ban on below cost selling a major flaw
AgriLand: Primary producers often the weakest link in the food supply chain

October 2016 - Widening the GCA net: who should Tacon tackle next?

The Grocer

June 2016 - Morrisons 'Treats suppliers the worst'

The Times

April 2016 - Adjudicator warns extending remit will not resolve farmers' price woes

FG Insight

February 2016 - Tacon sends out clear message to the big retailers

Farming Life

February 2016 - The Grocer Power List 2016

“She’s been dubbed ‘Take on Tacon’. And who can doubt her resolve after her damning report into the ‘shocking’ negotiation tactics of Tesco?”


View article

January 2016 - Tesco seriously breached industry code by delaying payments to suppliers, says report

January 2016 - Tesco Prioritised Finances Over Suppliers

January 2016 - Tesco knowingly delayed payments to suppliers

BBC News

January 2016 - Tesco delayed payments to suppliers to boost profits, watchdog finds

The Guardian

January 2016 - Tesco breached Code


January 2016 - Tesco 'acted_unreasonably' towards suppliers

Fast FT


December 2015 - Tacon slams calls for GCA role in prices row

The Grocer

December 2015 - Stronger regulation will improve supplier relations

Retail Week

December 2015 - I’m a GCA, get me out of here!

The Grocer

June 2015 - Suppliers cry 'foul' over supermarket behaviour

The Times

June 2015 - Tesco at heart of most complaints to watchdog from food suppliers

Yorkshire Post

June 2015 - Supplier survey shames grocers

Daily Mail

June 2015 - Suppliers still unhappy with Tesco's deals, says watchdog

The Independent

May 2015 - The Agri Brigade

Private Eye

April 2015 - David Cameron responds to a grilling by The Grocer

Full article – part 1

Full article – part 2

Extract covering the Groceries Code Adjudicator

Feb 2015 - Boring is better than beaten

Farmers Weekly

Feb 2015 - GCA Christine Tacon on Managing Supplier Relationships

CEB Procurement Leadership Council

Feb 2015 - Guest comment in The Promar Digest

Promar Digest

Feb 2015 - Suppliers scared to blow whistle on big retailers


Feb 2015 - Troubled Tesco faces another enquiry

The Guardian

Feb 2015 - Watchdog warns UK stores over Tesco probe

Financial Times

Feb 2015 - Grocery regulator launches inquiry into Tesco's treatment of suppliers

Supply Management

Jan 2015 - Standing up for suppliers

London Evening Standard

Jan 2015 - Tacon takes on Tesco

The Grocer

Jan 2015 - Tacon with teeth

The Grocer


Oct 2014 - Tacon wants Tesco to review Groceries Code compliance

Aberdeen Press & Journal

Oct 2014 - Watchdog: spill the beans on supermarket abuses

The Times

Oct 2014 - Hidden fees fuel a third of supermarket profits


June 2014 - Groceries Code boss sees gains

Three Counties Farmer

May 2014 - GCA marks first year with major conference and market survey

Fresh Plaza

March 2014 - Food and Farming need women leaders

Country Life: Agromenes

March 2014 - Keeping supermarkets in line

February 2014 - Supermarkets urged to review forensic auditors' six-year-old-money claims

Southern Farmer

February 2014 - Consuming issues: Tacon's role broader than she thinks


February 2014 - Tacon warns retailers over 'forensic' auditing of suppliers

The Grocer

February 2014 - Elliott & Tacon star turns at UK seminar on supply chain



Toughen up: what Australia’s supermarket code could learn from the UK

This is an interesting opinion piece by Professor Caron Beaton-Wells drawing attention to the weaknesses of the Australian code as compared to the UK model.


December 2013 - Fair Food Chain discussed in Brussels

Farm Week

December 2013 - Groceries Code Adjudicator Outlines Powers


December 2013 - Groceries Code Adjudicator heads to Brussels

NFU Online

December 2013 - Supermarket watchdog says suppliers avoid complaining

BBC News

October 2013 - UFU meet UK Groceries Code Adjudicator

Farming Life

October 2013 - Unfair supply chain practices tops agenda in UFU meeting

Farm Week 7 October 2013

October 2013 - Stormont Agriculture Committee meet with Groceries Code Adjudicator

Farm Week 3 October 2013

October 2013 - O'Neill discusses concerns with Groceries Code Adjudicator

Farm Week 3 October 2013

October 2013 - No help for farmers from Adjudicator

Farm Week 3 October 2013

October 2013 - UK food industry praises Appetite for Engineering

Food Processing (

September 2013 - An appetite for innovation, but no investment to feed it

Cambridge Consultants

September 2013 - Catch 22 for women Neds

""Sunday Times 8 September 2013

July 2013 - Adjudicator proposes 1% of turnover fines

The Grocer

July 2013 - Rogue retailers face £500m fine

Farmers Weekly

June 2013 - UK appoints regulator to protect grocery suppliers

Financial Times

June 2013 - UK supermarkets could face big fines, says tough-talking retail watchdog

Knight Frank – The Rural Bulletin

June 2013 - Met Office announces new non-executive directors

Met Office website

Under Pressure

Food Processing

April 2013 – Tacon sets out stall on key role in food chain

The Courier

March 2013 - Supermarkets watchdog gets ready to 'sort out the bullies'

February 2013 - Fresh Produce Journal

This issue of the FPJ covers Christine’s presentation to students at the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing together with an interview following her appointment as Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Fresh Produce Journal (February 2013)

February 2013 - BBC Costing The Earth

BBC Costing the Earth


January 2013 - Christine Tacon appointed Groceries Code Adjudicator

Media coverage includes:

BBC One Breakfast


Mirror Online: Supermarket tsar_Christine Tacon appointed Groceries Code Adjudicator

Retail Week: Five reasons why Christine Tacon may prove an astute appointment as Groceries Code Adjudicator

The Grocer: Tacon named as Groceries Code Adjudicator

NFU: Groceries code appointment – NFU response

Farming UK: Tacon appointed as new supermarket adjudicator

Food Manufacture: Christine Tacon appointed groceries code adjudicator

Just Food: UK Groceries Code Adjudicator appointed

Just Food: BRC cautiously welcomes grocery adjudicator Tacon

New Statesman: Five questions answered on the first appointed supermarket ombudsman


October 2012 - BBC Farmer of the Year finalists

Christine was a judge in the BBC Food and Farming awards and can be heard on three broadcasts meeting the finalists vying for the title of Farmer of the Year:
Farmer of the Year finalist: Tom Rawson
Farmer of the Year finalist: Henry Edmunds
Farmer of the Year finalist: Guy Watson

September 2012 - Christine Tacon joins the board of Anglia Farmers 

Anglia Farmers website (PDF 455KB, new window)

August 2012 - Interview with Labour Party researcher

We discussed a range of food and farming issues.

Interview notes

June 2012 - BBC Radio on the hunt for 'big food ideas'

The Grocer

May 2012 - Tacon takes on chair of arable farming venture

The Grocer

April 2012 - The Female FTSE Board Report 2012

Cranfield School of Management – report on progress on women on boards, produced for the Lord Davies ‘One year on’ event

April 2012 - Few regrets from time as Britain's biggest farmer

The Press and Journal

February 2012 - Farms chief bids a fond farewell to growing business

Co-operative News

July-December 2011

December 2011- "A farmer and a woman" - The new Fellow securing food for the nation

Institution of Mechanical Engineers

December 2011- Carr's corner


October 2011 - Local farmer champions home-grown food

Goole Times

October 2011 - Farmer is Co-op's onion king

Cambridgeshire Times

October 2011- Co-op to promote British farmers

International Supermarket News

September 2011- Co-operative Farms boss steps down

Farmers Weekly

September 2011- Co-op Farms chief resigns

Farmers Guardian

August 2011- Standing out from the crowd

Unknown source

August 2011- Christine's aim is to grow the Co-op's business organically

Greater Manchester Business Week

July 2011- Reasheath provides tailored training for The Co-operative Farms

Macclesfield Express

‘Habitat Heroes’ campaign – June 2011

Co-operative lifeline for red squirrels in Perthshire

Scotland Food and Drink

Farm hopes more otters will follow in green scheme

Eastern Dailly Press

Plans to save the water vole

Hull Daily Mail 

Owls offered 'super-sized' homes

BBC website

Farm joins trial to boost nature

Leicester Mercury

Blair farm welcomes the 'Habitat Heroes'

Eastern Daily Press

Jan-June 2011

June 2011- Life in the fast lane

Fresh Produce Journal

June 2011- The Co-operative Group

Sunday Times

April 2011- Round up: Co-operative Group sponsors online coverage of Oxford Farming Conference

Scottish Farmer

April 2011- In brief: Co-operative financial results

Fresh Produce Journal

April 2011- Co-operative Farms lead the way with a national apprenticeship scheme role

British Farmer & Grower

April 2011- Co-op eyes leading food security role

British Farmer & Grower

March 2011 - Hard worker has loved each minute of a life on the land

Yorkshire Post

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