Food producers and retailers alike have congratulated Christine Tacon on her appointment as the first Groceries Code Adjudicator.
In her new role Ms Tacon will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the ten largest supermarkets with an annual turnover of £1bn and their direct suppliers.
British Retail Consortium Food Director Andrew Opie:
“We look forward to working with Christine Tacon as she takes on this important role. The issue is not who the individual is but the judgements they make and how they operate in and develop the role.
“The key thing will be to administer a system that is fair to all parties and does not add unnecessary burdens to retailers and the supply chain more generally. It’s important that she demonstrates neutrality and objectivity - they will be essential qualities.
“Christine’s first task will be to prepare guidance to the Act and we expect her to liaise closely with us to ensure she has a thorough understanding of our supply chain and how the Groceries Supply Code of Practice is being used.”
Terry Jones, Director of Communications at the Food and Drink Federation, said:
“FDF congratulates Christine Tacon on her appointment as the first Groceries Code Adjudicator. Her experience and understanding of the whole supply chain means that she is well placed to take on this important role.
“We are looking forward to working with her to raise awareness with suppliers of the Adjudicator’s role, developing guidance and ultimately supporting investigations.”
The Adjudicator will have the power to launch investigations into suspected breaches of the Code, including those arising from confidential complaints from any source.
If she finds evidence of a breach, the Adjudicator will be able to make recommendations against a supermarket, require them to publish details of their breach, or, in the most extreme cases, to impose fines. She will also have the power to arbitrate disputes between large supermarkets and their direct suppliers.
Business Minister Jo Swinson said:
“I congratulate Christine Tacon on her appointment as Groceries Code Adjudicator. This is an incredibly important position in the retail groceries sector making sure that large supermarkets treat their suppliers fairly and lawfully. Ms Tacon has a wide range of experience in the food, retail and farming industry and her appointment is a real milestone. Her knowledge of the sector will be of huge benefit, and I’m sure will be crucial in making the Groceries Code Adjudicator a positive and powerful contributor to the groceries industry.”