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    NFUS Urges Asda To Turn Assurances Into Action
06/07/06

NFU Scotland met with Asda bosses on Tuesday 4 July to hear their vision for local sourcing and future support for British agriculture. This is the first of a series of meetings we want to have with retailers.

asda

The meeting, re-scheduled following the referral of the grocery market to the Competition Commission, took place at Asda’s head office in Leeds, with both John Kinnaird, NFUS President and Jim McLaren, NFUS Vice-President, in attendance.

John Kinnaird said:

“Yesterday’s meeting was worthwhile and I am encouraged that Asda are also keen to keep lines of communication open. We impressed upon them the need to ensure long-term sustainability of all sectors within Scottish agriculture.

“Asda’s vision of local buying, supporting British agriculture and ensuring a collaborative supply chain is a first step. However, whilst these are fine words action and commitment to these words is essential. The key to a truly collaborative supply chain is trust and transparency within that chain and a genuine commitment to long-term sustainability. That is what they will be judged on. Increasing volume sales in the grocery market is of no help to farmers if the market is not sustainable.

“There are still questions which remain unanswered. Local procurement, for example, is one thing, but do Asda expect processors to pay for the subsequent promotion of this produce? If processors margins are being squeezed due to paying for promotions and retrospective payments etc., it is hardly surprising that they in turn squeeze the farmer. Asda must remember that they do not deal directly with farmers, there is a third party involved and this is where the transparency gets lost. Surely the best form of promotion is giving the product sufficient shelf space within a supermarket. These issues have to be resolved before we can achieve a trustworthy collaborative and transparent supply chain.

“Retailers can source all the local produce they like but if the producers and processors are then asked for loyalty or shelf space payments which damage their bottom line, the promise becomes empty.

“What I need to see now is Asda’s assurances being turned into action. Consumers themselves are becoming more and more aware of food miles issues and the carbon footprint and are keen to support local produce. Retailers need to ensure they meet that demand by ensuring the sustainability of British agriculture.

“I look forward to building on this meeting with Asda to make them aware of their responsibility to deliver their vision through trust, transparency and commitment.”

link Supermarket Inquiry To Tackle Supply Chain Concerns
link Holyrood Report Highlights Supermarket Concerns
link Supermarket Price Pressure Will Hurt Consumers
link Buy Local Food and Fight Climate Change

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National Farmers' Union
NFU Scotland

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