Tesco has reinforced its commitment to British agriculture by signing up to the National Farmers’ Union Fruit & Veg Pledge.
And the supermarket is promising to help increase the amount of vegetables in people’s diets by supporting The Food Foundation’s Peas Please campaign.
The Fruit & Veg pledge is all about nurturing long-lasting relationships between retailers and growers, ensuring that suppliers are always treated fairly and cutting down on food waste through initiatives to buy greater volumes of British grown seasonal produce.
Tesco is the first of the so-called “Big 4” supermarkets to become a signatory and says the move further cements its long-term support for British farmers, growers and producers.
The supermarket chain has worked hard over recent years to “redefine its relationship with suppliers” and has been named as the most improved retailer in the Groceries Code Adjudicator’s most recent annual survey. Last year, Tesco was also ranked top in the independently run supplier Advantage survey.
Tesco changed its tact with suppliers by beginning to sign much longer agreements with produce partners, with some three to five-year deals. Previously this was not the case.
A report by the Grocery Code Adjudicator found that Tesco had intentionally delayed supplier payments. The report covered the period from June 2013 to 5 February 2015 and said the supermarket had breached GCA rules on payments.
However, over the last three years, Tesco has reiterated its commitment to supplier relationships.
The new pledge comes on the same day that Tesco has also committed to supporting The Food Foundation’s Peas Please initiative, focused on making it easier for more people to eat more vegetables.
Tesco has promised to prioritise increasing the amount of vegetables when developing recipes and introducing new products, ensuring more vegetable options are included in evening meal deals.
On top of this, it will continue to work with its supplier partners to develop new products to increase overall consumption of vegetables, as it works to help customers make healthier food choices.
“We’re proud to celebrate our partnerships with British farmers and growers by signing the NFU’s Fruit & Veg Pledge, which highlights both our commitment to British agriculture and healthy products,” said Tesco’s chief product officer Jason Tarry.
“British farmers and growers produce fantastic quality food and we believe if we invest in them for the long-term, our customers will enjoy better quality, affordable food today and tomorrow.
“Signing The Food Foundation’s Peas Please pledge also underlines our commitment to help our customers make healthier choices by making it easier to eat more vegetables, which in turn helps support our British farmers and growers too.”
NFU President Meurig Raymond is pleased the retailer has signed up.
“British farmers produce the food which helps to feed the nation and it is positive to see Tesco recognise that fact, committing to values that ensure fairness for the farmer and the supply chain,” he said.
“By offering this vital certainty and commitment, Tesco’s suppliers of fruit and veg will be in a stronger position to invest in their business, plan for the future, boost productivity and compete in a global marketplace. By signing up to the pledge, Tesco is telling suppliers it has started the journey of delivering ever higher standards of business integrity, which we are very proud of.
“With surveys showing that 90% of the public think farming is important to the UK economy and that 89% think it is important to have a productive farming industry, it is timely for Tesco to publicly show their support for British farmers.”