Aldi top for groceries code compliance

posted by Charlie Hart
22 May 2020

Aldi is the highest rated UK supermarket for its compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), according to a survey of suppliers. 

The annual groceries sector survey, conducted by the groceries code adjudicator (GCA), found Aldi to be the highest-performing supermarket for the seventh year in a row, rated with 96% compliance to GSCOP.

GCA Christine Tacon said Aldi’s success was down to the retailer’s culture, and suppliers knowing where they stand. 

“The way suppliers explain it to me is that if you do a deal with Aldi, they strike a hard bargain but once they’ve done that, they stick to it and suppliers won’t hear from them again for another year about negotiations,” she said. 

“There is no constant, ‘The competitors have done this, what’s your contribution?’. Even those in the Super Six promotion, where it is really difficult to get the forecasts right, said if they’ve got too much stock, Aldi will continue promoting it to help clear the stock.

“Whatever I hear from suppliers, it is if Aldi makes a commitment to order a certain volume from you, they will take that volume... I think working with Aldi is very clear-cut and you know where you stand.”

The survey found all 13 of the UK supermarkets regulated by the GCA demonstrated a very high level of code-compliant behaviour in their relationships with their groceries suppliers.

Only three retailers scored under 90% on overall compliance, with Iceland ranked last with 81%, followed by B&M on 86% and Marks & Spencer on 89%.

The survey also found the lowest-ever number of direct suppliers – 36% – had experienced a code-related issue at any point in the past 12 months, in comparison to 79% in 2014.

The Covid-19 crisis has seen retailers temporarily delisting suppliers to meet consumer demand, but Tacon said there had been no issues raised by suppliers on the process. 

Tacon said: “The information I was getting from suppliers is that it was in both of their [retailers and suppliers] interests to reduce the range so they could keep their core products on the shelves. Suppliers’ and retailers’ interests were totally aligned in reducing the range, reducing the complexity and upping the volume to the maximum.”

Tacon added it was important for retailers and suppliers to have a two-way conversation about supply, rather than solely relying on contracts to get the best results.

“If you get to the point where you’re relying on the things that are down in black and white, it’s getting more difficult. It’s much better, as a lot of people have seen during this Covid outbreak, to be able to talk to suppliers, and for suppliers to talk to retailers and tell them when they’re in difficulty. It ends up in a much better way of working and much better results for the consumer.”

UK supermarkets compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice

1. Aldi – 96%

2. Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Waitrose – 94%

3. Tesco, Ocado and Morrisons – 93%

4. Lidl and Home Bargains – 92%

5. M&S –  89%

6. B&M – 86%

7. Iceland – 81%

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