The main theme of this year’s IGD Convention in London was trust and collaboration, with retailers calling for better relationships with the supply chain.

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke vowed that the retailer, which announced a 12% drop in profits in its interim results, would “get personal” with shoppers by giving more feedback to suppliers.

“If we want suppliers and manufacturers to personalise what we sell, we have to tell you what customers are telling us,” said Mr Clarke.

“We need to innovate. And we can only do that together, in partnership with our suppliers, investing not just money but more time and commitment in our relationships.”

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said it was important to be seen to be treating suppliers fairly. The recent milk price cuts were a good example of how the public were behind farmers and highlighted different retailers’ attitudes to their suppliers, he said.