Supermarkets dominate the way we shop but they can abuse their buying power through their supply chains. Millions of workers, farmers and producers are forced to work long hours for low pay, in unsafe conditions, to meet the demands of supermarkets.

In the last few years, Traidcraft Exchange supporters campaigned hard for a watchdog to investigate abuse of suppliers – and won! In 2013, the government introduced a Groceries Code Adjudicator.

This watchdog can now take complaints from direct suppliers of supermarkets, whether in the UK or overseas. Crucially, the office has the power to impose fines on supermarkets – this would not have happened without your campaigning!

Norman Lamb and Traidcraft supporters

Why the scope of the watchdog should be extended

The supermarkets’ watchdog (or Groceries Code Adjudicator) has made great progress ensuring that suppliers get a better deal.

  • In January 2016, it completed an investigation into Tesco, which showed that the supermarket giant had been guilty of abusing its position by delaying payments to suppliers. Tesco stated that the company has now changed its practices
  • Since 2013, suppliers have reported a year-on-year improvement in the purchasing practices of supermarkets

But there are still problems in food supply chains. At the moment the Adjudicator is not able to investigate allegations of unfair trading between businesses further down the supply chain.

Traidcraft Exchange wants to see the scope of the Adjudicator expanded to include indirect suppliers.


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