Multiples are too powerful

1 May 1998

Multiples are too powerful

SUPERMARKET power in the fresh produce sector needs official regulation and backing for such a move seems to be growing.

A campaign to control multiple retailers alleged excessive power and achieve a fairer deal for their suppliers was launched by John Breach, Kent-based fruit requisite supplier and chairman of the British Independent Fruit Growers Association*.

The campaign has three aims:

lA code of practice for supermarkets.

lA regulator to ensure the code is followed and suppliers get an even-handed deal.

lA consortium of suppliers to provide more negotiating power with supermarket buyers.

"I get complaint after complaint from growers," says Mr Breach. "They are being left with no money to invest in their businesses. "

Kent fruit grower Clive Charr-ington does not blame supermarkets for everything. "But we are getting bogged down with more and more regulations, and our costs go up every year. We take all the risks but make nothing out of doing so."

A supermarket regulator would help control their power. A consortium of suppliers would also boost bargaining clout, adds Mr Breach.

"We are asking supermarket suppliers to write to their MPs and MEPs urging them to back our campaign."

lCalls for a supermarket regulator are gaining ground, adds David Butterworth, NFU south-east region horticultural policy adviser. Derek Wyatt, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, recently told North Kent NFU branches that a regulator was "a brilliant idea". &#42

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