The pledge is a charter of best business practice that calls on retailers to back British growers and offer suppliers a fairer share of risk and reward.
Amongst its commitments, the UK’s biggest retailer has pledged to create long-term partnerships with its growers, offer greater price certainty to growers – for a season or on a specified volume of produce, with no unexpected or imposed changes - and plan promotional activity in advance with growers.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “It is fantastic news that Tesco has signed the NFU’s Fruit and Veg pledge. British farmers produce the food which helps to feed the nation and it is positive to see Tesco recognise that fact, committing to values that ensure fairness for the farmer and the supply chain.
“By offering this vital certainty and commitment, Tesco’s suppliers of fruit and veg will be in a stronger position to invest in their business, plan for the future, boost productivity and compete in a global marketplace. By signing up to the pledge, Tesco is telling suppliers it has started the journey of delivering ever higher standards of business integrity, which we are very proud of.
“With surveys showing that 90% of the public think farming is important to the UK economy and that 89% think it is important to have a productive farming industry, it is timely for Tesco to publicly show their support for British farmers.”
NFU chief horticulture adviser Hayley Campbell-Gibbons said: “Today’s announcement marks the start of an exciting journey. Tesco’s sustainability farming groups are an encouraging and important part of the pledge and the NFU is keen to see the apple and brassica groups evolving in a similar way to the very successful potato group.
“Ultimately, we hope to see Tesco extend its sustainability farming groups across all fresh produce crops and deliver best business practice across the board, so all growers and suppliers to Tesco can feel the benefits.”
Aldi was the first retailer to sign the NFU’s Fruit and Veg Pledge, with Lidl and the Co-op the other retailers to have signed up to date.
Tesco’s commitment to the NFU’s Fruit & Veg Pledge:
- Treat all of our suppliers fairly, at all times and in accordance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.
- Build long term relationships with growers that offer greater certainty and stability.
- Offer production programmes as far in advance as possible of the crop being required (ideally one year) with a commitment to purchase a proportion of the crop at a previously agreed price when it is ready to harvest.
- Offer greater price certainty to growers – either for a season, or on a specified volume of product, with no unexpected, unilaterally imposed changes.
- Pay all of our suppliers on time, in full and always consult with suppliers in advance of any changes to payment terms and conditions.
- Seek to plan promotional activity in advance with growers and seek to adopt a flexible, production led approach to the timing of promotions as much as possible to help manage supply and demand.
- Reduce wastage, eliminate costs and add more value to the supply chain by seeking out opportunities to utilise the whole crop and adopting realistic product specifications.
- Communicate directly with our grower suppliers so that:
- They can better understand consumers’ needs and therefore make informed production decisions and;
- We can better understand the production challenges that growers’ face and be flexible to changes in supply.
- Seek to adopt a joined up business plan across all aspects of our business and throughout our supply chain so that retail buyers, intermediaries and growers are working together towards common goals for the fresh produce category.
- Seek to innovate jointly and improve customer proposition in a collaborative manner.
- When in season, commit to increasing the proportion of British fruit and vegetables that are available for consumers to buy.
- Contribute to investment in horticultural research, development and product innovation that benefits consumers.