NFUS Welcomes Choice of Tacon as Groceries Referee

Scotland’s farming union has welcomed the appointment of Christine Tacon CBE as the inaugural, independent Groceries Code Adjudicator.

For a four-year term, Ms. Tacon - who until recently ran the Co-operative Group’s farming business - will enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which oversees the relationship between the UK’s ten major retailers and their suppliers.

The Code covers activities including supply agreements, promotion costs, wastage, payment for shelf space and suppliers’ duties with relation to consumer complaints.

The UK Parliament is currently negotiating a Bill, heavily endorsed by NFUS and its fellow UK farming unions, which should enact the appointment in spring 2013.

NFU Scotland’s food chain relationships manager, Wendy Fleming said:

“Christine Tacon’s appointment as Grocery Code Adjudicator is very welcome, and should mean the start of a new relationship between all those involved in the food supply chain. Her time at the helm of the Co-operative’s farming enterprise means she is equipped with an unusual set of combined farming and retail experience.

“For our members, many of whom are struggling in the face of difficult farming conditions, rising input costs and poor market returns, this will not lead overnight to an improvement in their income. However, it should mean that we move towards a healthier culture of competition between major retailers where rivalry for custom is based on offering a wide variety of goods at a price which is acceptable to all in the supply chain.  

“NFUS has contended from the outset that the adjudicator must have sufficient powers to hold retailers to account and that third parties, such as NFUS, should be able to notify the adjudicator of breaches of the code. Ms. Tacon will be able to arbitrate in disputes between suppliers and retailers and, where necessary, impose fines.

“There is no doubt that Christine Tacon will have an enormous task ahead of her, however, the very fact that an Adjudicator has now been appointed, backed up by what is emerging as a very satisfactory Bill, is a real achievement.”


In April 2008, the UK Competition Commission officially recognised supply chain practices which were detrimental to suppliers and hence had an adverse effect on competition.

Its recommended remedies included an improved Groceries Supply Code of Practice and an ombudsman to enforce its conditions.

The Code of Practice oversees activities by the UK’s ten biggest retailers, each with an annual turnover of more than £1 billion: Asda, the Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi, Iceland and Lidl.


Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 04/13

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