Aldi store©Photofusion/Rex Shutterstock

Discount retailer Aldi has struck a landmark deal which the NFU says could change the face of retailer and supplier relations in the UK.

The supermarket, now the sixth biggest in the UK, has made a number of new commitments to UK growers which will ensure that their dealings with farmers are fair and transparent.

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Aldi has become the first retailer to sign up to the NFU’s Fruit and Veg pledge, which has involved making the following commitments:

  • It will not force suppliers to fund promotions – in other supermarkets popular Buy One Get One Free (Bogof) offers are commonly funded by growers
  • It will not charge suppliers for customer complaints, missed or late deliveries – a major concern and large cost to the industry
  • It will honour deals that are struck and pay the agreed price – there will be no back margin mechanisms such as penalties or overriders
  • It will commit to buying seasonal British fruit and veg – Aldi is already an industry leader with 40% of the fresh produce it sells.

NFU horticulture chairman Guy Poskitt said: “Aldi is looking at a wide range of ways of working with its suppliers and the NFU believes that this could see a big sea-change in the way the whole of the supply chain works.

“We know that there are other retailers who have best practice measures in place, but we must praise Aldi for doing so publicly and by committing to the key aims of our pledge – fair prices, long-term guarantees, seasonal British produce and above all, a healthy supply chain which is fair to the supplier and retailer.”

Tony Baines, managing director of buying at Aldi, said it treated growers and packers across the UK equally and fairly.

“This allows us to build long-term and sustainable relationships with them, which in turn enables our customers to benefit from unbeatable prices and quality.

“The transparency and fairness with which we treat all our suppliers was recently recognised by the groceries code adjudicator’s annual supplier survey, which named Aldi as the best performing grocery retailer for compliance.”