The NFU continues to meet with retailers to discuss how they can help to achieve fair and sustainable relationships throughout the supply chain.
Meetings have been organised after letters were sent to the top ten UK retailers following the high-level summit of the UK farming unions in London in August.
Letters went to Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Co-operative, Aldi, Waitrose, Lidl, Iceland and M&S. They were signed by NFU President Meurig Raymond, on behalf of the NFU, NFU Scotland, the UFU, NFU Cymru, the CLA, TFA, FFA and NFYFC.
NFU head of food and farming, Phil Bicknell, said: “Collectively, these meetings have provided some valuable insight into retailers’ current sourcing policies and highlighted some key areas of work. Needless to say, each retailer has a different approach to British and are at different stages within their wider marketing strategies.
“During the meetings the NFU has continued to raise industry concerns, such as stable and fair prices, retailer sourcing policies (contracts and long term supply), transparency and public commitments.”
Areas that we will be focusing on with retailers that provide the biggest opportunities for UK agriculture in the future include:
- All retailers have scope for longer term contracts (longer than annual) to help combat volatility, particularly in the red meat sector.
- In addition contracts directly with producers, that could accommodate different pricing mechanisms (min-max; fixed price; cost of production; etc)
- Scope to increase UK sourced yogurt for own-label product (e.g. Asda, Aldi, Tesco)
- Provide clarity on what lamb season is defined and look to extend British season
- Intra-business trade opportunities for UK foods (e.g. £30m of British cheese shipped within the Lidl group)
- Promotion and expansion of current supply initiatives (e.g. Sainsbury, Waitrose, Asda link programmes). Where there are linkages with farmers, they are doing positive things but are typically not promoted more widely.
- Red tractor labelling – do more to label on-pack and in-store
- Fruit & Veg pledge – scope for more retailers to back
- Better collaboration with processors to forecast volume and facilitate improved planning and category management in the supply chain.
- Buying groups for farmer suppliers.