Suppliers are naturally suspicious when their big retailer customers come knocking with new supply chain initiatives.

And you can certainly envisage the sharp intake of breath in many a head office on receipt of a letter from Tesco detailing its ominous-sounding Supplier Protectorline scheme.

Protectorline is a confidential ­telephone service that lets supplier employees flag up their concerns about product quality or safety ­directly to the retailer.

Suppliers have questioned why this is necessary, given the amount of checks and balances already in place in order to secure a listing with the retail giant. But really Tesco's stance is understandable unlike the supplier, Tesco is consumer-facing and as such it will always argue that it is going the extra mile to protect the consumer and also ensure it can guarantee the quality of product that it claims it can deliver.

For the most part if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.

The key, therefore, for Tesco will be to reassure suppliers that the scheme will not be open to misuse.