NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Supply Chain Work

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An overview of the key supply chain initiatives, led by the NFU Horticulture and Potatoes board and NFU Potato Forum.

Catalyst for Change

The NFU “Catalyst for Change” initiative, which was launched in 2012, and then updated in 2015 with “Catalyst Revisited”, shines a spotlight on poor supply chain behaviours which are impacting on growers’ businesses and damaging profitability.  With a direct focus on ensuring the supply chain operates in a fair and transparent manner, the reports make several recommendations to ensure there is a better balance of risk and reward between growers, processors, packers and retailers, and that all parts of the chain can benefits from a thriving British horticultural sector. The recommendations include the use of longer term contracts with integrated production programmes to ensure certainty for growers, as well as a collaborative approach to in-store promotions and improved price certainty. Catalyst for Change also saw the creation of the NFU Fruit and Veg Pledge (below).

Bridging the Gap

Released at the end of 2017, the “Bridging the Gap” initiative focuses on transparency within potato supply chain. The report aims to improve trust, particularly in regards to delivery rejections and payment deductions. Many growers continue to face a lack of clarity on why some loads were rejected or the reason behind payments deductions, and are often notified a number of weeks after delivery which makes it difficult for growers to address these issues in the rest of their crop. Much of the report is informed by conversations between the NFU, growers, packers and processors, and calls for greater data sharing and communication in order to allow the whole sector to become more competitive and productive.

Fit for the Future

In 2016, the NFU launched a new report, “Fit for the Future”, setting out 34 recommendations for increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables while helping to reverse the current obesity crisis and combatting other diet related illnesses.

With an annual cost of obesity to the NHS of £5.1 billion per year, the NFU is calling on government, retailers, processors and the food service industry to develop and implement the actions that are needed to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables from its current level of 3 a day to the recommended 5 a day.

The 34 ‘Options for Action’ included within the ‘Fit for the Future’ report include multi-siting fruit and veg in more places in the store; redesigning food service areas to offer more prominence to fruit and veg, developing fun-shaped fruit and veg for kids; and adding at least one extra piece of veg to every ready meal.

Fruit and Veg Pledge

One of the primary objectives from Catalyst for Change is to secure commitments from retailers and other major customers to the principles of the “Fruit and Veg Pledge” - a charter promoting best business practice within in the fresh produce sector.  By signing the pledge, businesses are making commitments to offering greater collaboration with growers and providing more price certainty, longer term contracts and programmes, investment in horticultural research and development, and a commitment to British produce when in season. Lidl, Aldi, the Co-op and Tesco have all signed up to the pledge (accounting for over half of the fresh produce sold in UK retail)  and the NFU will continue to engage with the supply chain to secure further commitments.

Plants and Flowers Pledge

Building on the success of the “Fruit and Veg Pledge”, the NFU launched the “Plants and Flowers Pledge” in 2018.  Like the “Fruit and Veg Pledge” the “Plants and Flowers Pledge” is a commitment to best practice within the supply chain, from reducing waste, offering price certainty and timely payments, through to investing in innovation and biosecurity. Aldi were the first retailer to sign up to the pledge, and the NFU welcomes future pledges from other retailers.