Retailers bully small suppliers? Not so much

05/09/2012 02:30:00 PM
Tom Karst

Does the U.S. need to protect the little guy? It doesn't seem so...

National Editor Tom KarstIf you haven't heard, the U.K. now has a a "new independent adjudicator" who will protect suppliers by making sure large retailers treat them "fairly and lawfully" by allowing farmers to raise complaints confidentially.

Here is coverage of the "Queen's Speech" in The Telegraph.

Listen to this, from The Telegraph coverage:

It prevents large retailers - those with a UK groceries turnover of more than £1 billion - from varying their supply agreements retrospectively and to pay their suppliers within a reasonable time.

TK: I would be curious if readers feel that such an independent authority is needed here in the U.S. Check out the LinkedIn poll to that effect here at the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group. By the way the FPIDG passed 4,100 members today, up from 1,761 the same time a year ago.

Also check out the link to an active discussion about the United-PMA merger talks.

Regarding the issue of abuse of small growers by large retailers,  I have not heard the issue is a big problem in the U.S. 

Perhaps with the hot appeal of "local produce," retailers are being particularly good to smaller growers. Still, I would say the supplier-buyer relationship has a lot of commonalities between the U.S. and the U.K, and "varying supply agreements retrospectively" might be one of those common sore points.

The Huffington Post blog looks at the issue of the successful ballot drive to ask voters in California if genetically engineered food should be labeled at retail(Huff=yes!).From the blog post Dr. Joseph Mercola:

Naturally, the biotech industry is not about to let this pass without a fight. Monsanto, the Farm Bureau, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and corporate agribusiness are all raising millions of dollars to spread their propaganda in an effort to defeat the California ballot initiative, just like they did a decade ago in Oregon.


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