Farmers Weekly monitors Tesco pledge progress

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke pledged in February that the retailer would source more meat from ‘closer to home’ as part of a raft of radical changes following the horsemeat scandal.

Speaking at the NFU Conference, Mr Clarke said the supermarket was implementing a “root and branch review” of its supply chains, which would involve introducing longer contracts, more transparency and the appointment of an agriculture director.

A representative from Tesco will update NFU Council on progress made in implementing the pledges on Tuesday (23 April).

In advance of this meeting Farmers Weekly asked Tesco to explain what changes have been implemented in fifteen key areas set out by Mr Clarke in his original speech.

The results are in the table below.

We will continue to monitor progress over the coming months. You can leave your verdict on what has been achieved so far by leaving a comment at the end of the article.

 Tesco’s pledge  What Tesco’s done so far (April 2013)
To source more  meat closer to home i.e. British – stepping up UK production capacity

Tesco says it has started to implement plans to source more produce from the UK, in N Ireland it has said 90%of all chicken, beef and pork sold in NI stores will come from local producers.
The retailer says it has invited the NFU and the wider industry to work with it to increase UK capacity for the production of meat and poultry.

It will work with processors in tripartite partnerships, and directly with its famers.

From July all fresh chicken will come from UK farms Tesco says from July it will meet this target.
All chicken in all products – fresh and frozen – will be from British Isles Tesco has repeated its commitment to sourcing all chicken, including frozen chicken used in ready meals, from producers in the British Isles. No timescale has been set yet. 
Aiming for transparent relationships with suppliers and customers

Tesco says it has open communication and transparency with customers and suppliers.

It says it made customers immediately aware of any positive test results for horsemeat.
The retailer has created a Food News website to share test results, announcements and information about how its meat and poultry is sourced.

For suppliers, it is rolling out our Tesco Sustainable Farming Groups across its agricultural supply base to cover all proteins. 

A root and branch review of their whole supply chain

Tesco says it is examining all aspects of the supply chain to ensure it knows how its products are being sourced.

The retailer plans to shorten supply chains, removing traders and source only from carefully managed, approved farmers.

Appointing a Tesco Agriculture Director so farming has a single point of contact Tesco is still recruiting for this position. 
All contracts will have a minimum period of two years to all suppliers who want that Tesco says it is finalising the details of two year contracts.
Extending the social network of producers to share knowledge and communicate better – starting with dairy farmers in March Tesco has opened a producer network to their 700 UK dairy farmers. The retailer says that farmers are “gradually joining and sharing best practices in animal welfare and yields” with expert guidance provided by partners at Liverpool University and Tesco’s Agriculture Team.
A promise on labelling/tracebability that only what’s on the pack is what will be in the product Tesco has set up a DNA testing programme to test beef products and are now in the process of expanding the testing programme to other food products.
DNA testing on ALL processed beef Tesco has finished testing all processed beef products. The products tested and the results are on its website
A new Tesco standard introduced so shoppers know the product has been rigorously tested

Tesco believes its testing programme will give customers confidence that what is on the label is in the product.

It plans to establish an independent panel of experts to help improve the way the supply chain works in practice.
The retailer is conducting detailed customer research to find out what customers want and expect to see on food labels.

“If customers want it we will: declare where meat in products was born, reared, killed and processed and packed; better specify ingredients and source for all products.

Setting up independent panel of experts to improve supply chain practices Tesco will update the NFU on its progress at the Council meeting on Tuesday 22 April.
Setting up an interactive website to give customers insight into what’s in their food and to show Tesco testing works Tesco has set up the Food News website which gives details of product testing and results and news articles to highlight the ways it works with members of the supply chain.
Putting in video in the supply chain so customers can trace from farm to fork The Food News website includes video content from some of the suppliers and farmers who form part of their supply chain.  It also includes interviews with farmers and fresh fish and lamb buyers.
Implement shorter supply chains Tesco says it has started to implement plans to source more produce from the UK. 

For more on this topic

Tesco to reveal progress on NFU pledges

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