UK leads the way as European Commission report echoes Competition Commission report on grocery supply chain

A new European Commission report on the operation of the grocery supply chain reinforces the need for a supermarket ombudsman and standard contracts, the NFU has claimed.

The report, released this week, identifies three cross-cutting priorities for action to improve supply chain operations. These are:

  • the promotion of sustainable and market-based relationships between stakeholders in the food supply chain;
  • increasing transparency along the chain to encourage competition and improve its resilience to price volatility;
  • fostering the integration and competitiveness of the European food supply chain across Member States.

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said: "This report echoes comments made by both the NFU and the Competition Commission about the problems in the supply chain and some of the actions that need to be taken to solve them.

"The recognition of the need to draw up Community measures seeking to ban unfair contractual practices within the internal market and facilitating enforcement against such practices is especially welcome and, in addition, the report also makes other suggestions regarding exchanging information on best contractual practice, setting up awareness campaigns, and the use of voluntary standard contracts.

"This report reinforces the fact that there is no excuse for the government not to implement the Competition Commission's findings, particularly regarding establishing an ombudsman. Experience has shown that for measures like these to give real value and benefit to consumers and farmers there needs to be an independent ombudsman overseeing them."

Labour's Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Peter Mandelson is this month due to make a decision on whether to create an ombudsman post.

For more on this story see next week's Grower.


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