Snail stunt outside BIS

Supermarkets Campaign

When Traidcraft took on the Supermarkets

Supermarkets dominate the way we shop but they can abuse their buying power through their supply chains. Millions of workers, farmers and producers are forced to work long hours for low pay, in unsafe conditions, to meet the demands of supermarkets.

In the last few years, Traidcraft supporters have campaigned hard on behalf of the people who grow, process and pack our food.

Calling for a Supermarkets Watchdog in the UK

Together we called for a watchdog to investigate abuse of suppliers – and won! In 2013, the government introduced a Groceries Code Adjudicator.

This watchdog can now take complaints from direct suppliers of supermarkets, whether in the UK or overseas. Crucially, the office has the power to impose fines on supermarkets – this would not have happened without your campaigning!

The watchdog bares its teeth

In January 2016, the supermarkets' watchdog (or Groceries Code Adjudicator) announced the results of an investigation into Tesco. This showed that the supermarket giant had been abusing its position by delaying payments to suppliers. 

Fiona Gooch from Traidcraft commented:

'Traidcraft welcomes the findings of the Groceries Code Adjudicator investigation into Tesco. However the Adjudicator is currently only able to look at abuses against direct suppliers. Our research shows that when supermarkets dump risk onto their suppliers in the form of delayed payments or additional costs, these risks are often passed on down the supply chain which can ultimately lead to the exploitation of workers and producers in developing countries. This is why the Adjudicator’s remit should be extended when it comes up for review later this year.'

Tesco stated that the company has now changed its practices.

Placeholder Image
Mainya sorts cashews Image Overlay Top

A big price for a small nut

As part of our campaign, we investigated the cashew nut industry in India. Most of the world’s cashews are processed here and are then sold to European supermarkets, who are pushing down prices, paying late and ignoring workers’ rights. One Indian cashew trader told us: “Retailers squeeze the supply chain until their eyes pop out”.