Farmers are being urged to say whether the UK’s big supermarket chains are treating them fairly and lawfully.

The confidential annual survey gives growers and livestock producers the opportunity to have their say on supermarket practices.

The 2020 survey is being launched today (4 February) – 10 years to the day since the Groceries Supply Code of Practice came into force.

See also: Aldi holds on to top spot for supplier relationships

Vital role

Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon says it has played a vital role in showing where retailers work well and identifying areas for improvement.

This year the survey includes the Home Bargains chain, which was designated by the Competition and Markets Authority in September last year.

Suppliers can complete the survey at www.yougov.com/GCA.

“The annual survey is the best way for the GCA to understand what issues suppliers are experiencing with the retailers,” she said.

Powerful indicator

“It is a powerful indicator of the state of relations in the sector.”

Supermarket chains themselves used the results to help them pinpoint the issues they needed to work on, said Ms Tacon.

“I have tracked retailer behaviour through an annual survey since my first year in the role and seen continued progress,” she added.

The 2019 survey results were the best ever, with only four out of 10 suppliers reporting having experienced a code-related issue in the past 12 months.

Room for improvement

Although this was down from a high of eight out of 10 suppliers reporting an issue in 2014, Ms Tacon suggested things could still get better.

“I am still pushing for further improvement. I would like to see if that trend has continued against a challenging retail background.”

This will be Ms Tacon’s last annual survey as GCA – a role to which she was appointed in 2013.

Run by pollsters YouGov, the survey is treated in complete confidence.

The deadline for submissions is 29 March 2020.

To coincide with the survey, Farmers Weekly has launched its own poll to see which supermarkets readers believe are treating farm suppliers the most fairly.