Is the Grocery Conduct Authority toothless?

Rick-Pendrous_dnm_author_pict

Very interesting article by Rick Pendrous here: http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Regulation/Retailer-watchdog-calls-on-suppliers-to-raise-complaints In other words, who is going to put their head over the parapet first? Christine Tacon has a very good point here but is she being unrealistic in requiring several sources of complaints at once? All suppliers, no matter what their size are affected by the lack of competition and the dominance of the mults in the UK market I recall a speech that Robert Schofield, formerly of Premier Foods gave in 2010 when he said that the only advantage size had when dealing with customers (this was when Premier was the largest UK supplier) was that Tesco took the nail out of the cricket bat before they hit you with it. The high levels of competition for supermarket business mean that suppliers are unlikely to share their woes with competitors, much of which would involve divulging confidential commercial information. Expecting aggrieved suppliers to check with each other before submitting abuse complaints is naive. However, how else will these abuses come to light? Morrisons were recently rumbled – coining a phrase to describe consequences that is almost Hooverian in tone – that suppliers who had complained would not necessarily have suffered any ‘negative consequences’. Mike Stones  “Morrisons slammed for breaching the groceries code”, Food Manufacturer. Mrs Thatcher, love her or hate her, had one thing right when she said in a conversation with Maurice Saatchi that she regarded what we now call globalisation and lack of competition the greatest threat to freedom behind huge government. Successive governments have failed to address this. I have some sympathy with Christine but at the end of the day, are industry watchdogs like the GCA, FSA, OFCOM etc. sticking plasters which will never be effective in curing the fundamental underlying problem with much of our economy, the chronic lack of competition?

Advertisements