Tesco pledges to back British farmers and help people eat more healthily
24 October 2017
Tesco has today underlined its commitment to British agriculture by signing up to the National Farmers’ Union Fruit & Veg Pledge – as well as increasing the amount of vegetables in people’s diets by supporting The Food Foundation’s Peas Please pledge.
Designed to nurture long-lasting relationships between retailers and growers, the Fruit & Veg pledge highlights the importance of treating suppliers fairly, reducing food waste and buying more British fruit and veg when it’s in season. Tesco is the first of the Big 4 supermarkets to become a signatory.
The move further cements Tesco’s long-term support for British farmers, growers and producers. Significantly, it also builds on a range of steps taken to redefine its relationship with suppliers over the last three years to be named 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.
This comes on the same day that Tesco has also committed to support The Food Foundation’s Peas Please initiative, focused on making it easier for more people to eat more vegetables. As part of this, Tesco has pledged to prioritise increasing the amount of vegetables when developing recipes and introducing new products, and ensure more vegetable options are included in evening meal deals. In addition, the retailer 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.
Tesco’s Chief Product Officer Jason Tarry said:
“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. 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 said:
“It is excellent news that Tesco has signed the NFU’s Fruit and Veg pledge. 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.
“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.”
Taken together, the announcements reflect significant work undertaken by Tesco to improve relationships with British farmers and growers, including:
- Creating long term partnerships to help British farmers grow their businesses – including supporting British agriculture through a range of Tesco Sustainable Farming Groups, with our Fair For Farmers Guarantee meaning every pint of Tesco milk is 100% British, farmers are paid fairly, and every cow is well cared for.
- Partnering with suppliers to use combined expertise and reach to reduce food waste – for example, agreeing bumper crop promotions that benefit suppliers and customers, and innovating together to use ‘wonky’ produce in ready meals and soups.
- Buying more fruit and veg from British growers – working together to bring our customers the best quality, fresh British produce, including increased amounts of British cherries and apples.
- Helping customers make healthier choices – working closely with our growers to provide great quality, fresh and affordable fruit and veg to make healthy choices a little bit easier.
Notes to Editors
Tesco’s commitment to the NFU’s Fruit & Veg Pledge:
- Treat all of our suppliers fairly, at all times and in accordance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.
- Build long term relationships with growers that offer greater certainty and stability.
- Offer production programmes as far in advance as possible of the crop being required (ideally one year) with a commitment to purchase a proportion of the crop at a previously agreed price when it is ready to harvest.
- Offer greater price certainty to growers – either for a season, or on a specified volume of product, with no unexpected, unilaterally imposed changes.
- Pay all of our suppliers on time, in full and always consult with suppliers in advance of any changes to payment terms and conditions.
- Seek to plan promotional activity in advance with growers and seek to adopt a flexible, production led approach to the timing of promotions as much as possible to help manage supply and demand.
- Reduce wastage, eliminate costs and add more value to the supply chain by seeking out opportunities to utilise the whole crop and adopting realistic product specifications.
- Communicate directly with our grower suppliers so that:
- They can better understand consumers’ needs and therefore make informed production decisions and;
- We can better understand the production challenges that growers’ face and be flexible to changes in supply.
- Seek to adopt a joined up business plan across all aspects of our business and throughout our supply chain so that retail buyers, intermediaries and growers are working together towards common goals for the fresh produce category.
- Seek to innovate jointly and improve customer proposition in a collaborative manner.
- When in season, commit to increasing the proportion of British fruit and vegetables that are available for consumers to buy.
- Contribute to investment in horticultural research, development and product innovation that benefits consumers.
Tesco’s Peas Please Pledge:
We pledge that when we develop our recipes and introduce new products we will aim to increase the amount of vegetables and ensure more vegetable options are included in evening meals deals. For example, our finest* evening Meal Deal will always include two vegetable side dish options. We will continue to work with our supplier partners to develop new vegetable-based products to increase the overall consumption of vegetables.