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Mark White

The number of suppliers reporting GSCOP related issues has fallen to an all-time low, according to the latest Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) survey.

Adjudicator Mark White, who took over last year from Christine Tacon, revealed the proportion of suppliers experiencing issues at any stage in the past year was down to 29%, compared to 36% in 2020, despite the survey covering a brutal period of trading in the coronavirus crisis which saw thousands of products delisted.

The findings come after more than 2,500 responses were received by the adjudicator’s official YouGov survey, which launched in January.

The level of issues compares to 79% of suppliers who raised them in the first GCA survey in 2014, and is the biggest annual fall since 2015, following the Tesco scandal.

White, who will publish the full survey later in the year, said: “This survey will be very important to me in my first year as GCA.

“With direct suppliers giving me their frank views on the designated retailers’ performance and the issues that most concern them I now have very valuable information to plan my work for the months ahead.

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“The number of suppliers reporting they had experienced Code-related issues at any stage in the past year fell to a record low – down to 29% compared to 36% in 2020.

“This is particularly encouraging given the challenges of the past year and the large rise in responses. It demonstrates how far the sector has come since 2014 when eight out of 10 suppliers reported experiencing issues in the first GCA survey.”

Lockdown has been accompanied by a raft of delistings as retailers moved to rationalise their ranges, with the trend also being accelerated by the move to EDLP and the ongoing supermarket price war.

In January, White also launched a ‘Tell the GCA’ reporting platform to encourage suppliers to report suspected supermarket GSCOP breaches.

John Noble, director of the British Brands Group, said the result of the survey, and the size of the response, was “fantastic news”.

He added; “I think the response has shown that even in one of the most difficult, challenging and extraordinary times most of us have experienced in our lives, the Code has been flexible and powerful enough for the supply chain to continue putting food on people’s tables.

“We have seen some very challenging conversations between retailers and suppliers but this has been able to be done in a way that is Code compliant.

“A look at how the number of alleged incidents has fallen since the survey began really does tell its own story.”

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