22 March 2002

Supermarts cool on trading codes

AT least two of the four major supermarkets are unlikely to ask their suppliers to comply with guidelines set out in a new code of practice designed to improve trading relationships.

The code, which came into force last Sunday (Mar 17), does not automatically apply to any of the smaller retailers, flower buyers or to meat, milk and bread processing firms who deal directly with farmers.

But the NFU has been hoping Asda, Sainsbury and Tesco will follow a lead set by Safeway at the start of the year and ask all major processors to comply with the codes guidelines.

Helen Lo, NFU marketing manager, said the union was not happy the code only applied to four supermarkets and also that it was relatively open to interpretation.

But Safeways move to ask suppliers to comply with the guidelines was a positive one, she said. "We would certainly hope the other supermarkets follow their lead."

But Tesco has already told FARMERS WEEKLY it will not be asking its suppliers to make a commitment to keep to the code. &#42