It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that there is a crisis taking place across the grocery sector. Suppliers of all shapes and sizes are worried about whether and how they will be able to survive the impact of rising costs.
As the Groceries Code Adjudicator, I’m the UK regulator that ensures that the 14 largest grocery retailers treat their direct suppliers lawfully and fairly and comply with the GSCOP. I work with the CCO (Code Compliance Officer) at each retailer who is responsible for ensuring that their business complies with the Code.
Concerns around CPI requests
As a direct supplier, the price you agree to supply a retailer is not covered by the Code so I cannot tell them to pay more for your produce. However, I am working to ensure that suppliers of all sizes are treated fairly and lawfully during the negotiation process.
Earlier this year I published my 7 Golden Rules which lay out the best practice for managing the process and I am working with all the retailers to ensure they are following the rules.
I am particularly concerned about stories I have heard of retailers delaying responses to cost price increase (CPI) requests.
As growing cycles cannot be delayed in response, suppliers have no certainty until the negotiations are finally completed, this seems to me to be a transfer of excessive risk, which, coupled with unrealistic demands from buyers, could see more suppliers simply go out of business.