Retailers are not doing enough to promote the work they’re doing to support British agriculture, the NFU has claimed in a new report published yesterday.
Examples of good supply chain relations that retailers could do more to promote included Asda’s FarmLink programme, Sainsbury’s farmer development groups and Tesco’s Sustainable dairy Group, the NFU said in its analysis of the top 10 grocery retailers’ CSR policies.
Tesco - with around 30% share of the grocery retail market - was “by far and away” UK farming’s biggest customer, said the report. Yet while it appeared proud to champion provenance and its relationships with farmer suppliers in store, it made no public reference to the scale of its UK sourcing.
“We feel that the company may be underselling the significantly beneficial supply chain work that it has led in the dairy sector in particular,” said the report.
Waitrose, on the other hand, “may be missing an opportunity to promote how its supplier relationships supersede those of some other supermarkets”.
The NFU’s view is a significant vote of confidence for retailers. While the report called on them to do more in some areas of CSR, such as British sourcing, in others, it acknowledged that they were already doing some good work and having a positive impact on farming.
One way that retailers could better highlight their British sourcing was by using the Red Tractor logo on pack and in materials, suggested the report, which found that “surprisingly few” retailers drew attention to the standards.
“This is disappointing and slightly surprising given the investment that retailers individually and collectively have made in backing UK farm assurance schemes,” said the report.