Snail stunt outside BIS

Supermarkets Campaign

When Traidcraft took on the Supermarkets

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 supporters have campaigned hard on behalf of the people who grow, process and pack our food.

Calling for a Supermarkets Watchdog in the UK

Together we called 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!

The watchdog bares its teeth

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

Traidcraft wants to see the remit of the Adjudicator expanded to include suppliers that sell to supermarkets indirectly. The government ran a consultation from October 2016 to January 2017 to explore the case for such a change, and our submissions can be read in this blog. We will be watching the government’s next move carefully as we continue to argue for the best possible support for farmers and workers.

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A big price for a small nut

As part of our campaign, we investigated the cashew nut industry in India. Most of the world’s cashews are processed here and are then sold to European supermarkets, who are pushing down prices, paying late and ignoring workers’ rights. One Indian cashew trader told us: “Retailers squeeze the supply chain until their eyes pop out”.