Co-op commits to NFU Fruit and Veg Pledge


The Co-op has backed Great British produce by signing up to the NFU's Fruit and Veg Pledge.

The retailer made the announcement at its farming conference in Manchester on Tuesday.

NFU Horticulture Board Vice Chairman, Guy Poskitt, said: “We are delighted the Co-op has signed the NFU Fruit and Veg Pledge. In a week that saw farmers and politicians come together in Westminster to Back British Farming, the Co-op’s commitment to our industry shines through. It is a real step forward when a retailer makes two commitments to British farming in one week.

“With Co-op’s fruit and veg commitment, our British growers have a bright and prosperous future, one that they can thrive on and one that continues to offer British consumers high quality great British food.”

What's the pledge all about?

Championing best practice in the fresh produce sector, the pledge is designed to cultivate long-lasting relationships between retailers and growers. It requires retailers to adhere to a number of requirements including the fair treatment of suppliers, advance planning on promotions, investment in horticultural research and a commitment to increasing the amount of British fresh produce available for customers.

Co-op commercial director Michael Fletcher said: “We’re thrilled to be able to announce our support for the NFU’s Fruit and Veg Pledge at the Co-op's very first farming conference in the presence of over 300 of our farming group members, suppliers, industry and Co-op colleagues.

“We know our customers care about the provenance of their food and are keen to champion British products wherever they can. By signing up to this charter, we’re giving them further assurance on the transparency of our supply chains and making it easier than ever for them to support British farmer and growers.”

The Co-op also recently announced that all of its bacon and lamb would be sourced from British farms from May 2017.

The Co-op's 11 Fruit and Veg Pledge commitments:

•    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 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 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.
•    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.

Last edited on: 22:09:2016

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