from Karen Carlyle, executive director, Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and Humber
Sir; With the controversy regarding the effectiveness or otherwise of the supermarket code of practice (‘Multiples ‘rip up’ the code’, The Grocer, February 5, p4), I thought it worth commenting on our experience representing our small producer members to some of the multiples.

Due to the increased consumer demand for regional products, we have successfully introduced a number of our members to two multiples over the past year, resulting in a significant number of listings.

Having been a buyer and an own-label supplier in a previous life, I can comment favourably on how these retailers are assisting smaller producers new to the multiple arena:

n Payment cycles are kept to a maximum of 30 days

n Producers are generally excluded from promotions and tenders

n Marketing support including permanent point of sale and sampling is free of charge

n Assuming a satisfactory sales rate, growth in the numbers of stores supplied can be driven by the producer based on production capability

n Producers are encouraged to build relationships with store management in order to facilitate listings.

n EFSIS, the European food standards organisation, has introduced the Safe and Legal Standard to help small producers to become accredited without having to achieve full accreditation by bodies such as the British Retail Consortium. Our members have been able to work with our sister company, the Food Technology Advisory Service, to meet this standard. We are now engaged in talks with a number of other retailers and we hope they will adopt similar criteria.