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Tesco's Must Make Meaningful Commitment to Industry, says NFU

30 June 2015
National Farmers Union

UK - The National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging Tesco to demonstrate exactly how it is delivering on its promises made in 2013 to improve relationships with suppliers, shorten supply chains and improve trust throughout, after comments made by Tesco CEO Dave Lewis at the shareholder AGM.

NFU President Meurig Raymond, who tabled a question on behalf of the NFU’s members, said while he was pleased Tesco had confirmed that it was standing by those commitments made at the NFU conference in 2013, they now needed to give firm evidence that progress is being made.

“Our members have not seen the significant changes on the ground in the way they expected. Two and a half years after making the promise that they were changing, I would encourage Tesco to give these commitments teeth,” said Mr Raymond.

“In 2008, Tesco told the NFU conference what its British sourcing percentage was across all of its major protein areas, for instance they were proud to say then that they were 95 per cent British in beef. What we want now is for Tesco to be transparent about where it is today, specifically within red meat.

“One of the main focuses of today’s AGM was on Tesco’s efforts to rebuild trust and integrity in its brand, while putting its customers at the forefront of its business. It must remember that our members are part of this vision as it goes about turning around the company’s fortunes.

“We will continue to challenge and collaborate with Tesco so that we can ensure a successful and sustainable relationship for our farmers and growers.”

As part of his response to the NFU’s question, Mr Lewis outlined the supermarket’s sourcing policies on fresh chicken, milk, eggs, butter and root vegetables, all of which were 100 per cent British. He added that all fresh and frozen beef was 100 per cent British or Irish.

He also said that Tesco had made efforts to improve relationships with suppliers through producer groups.

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