Retailers need to take more responsibility over their supply chain or face regulation, according to Nick Miller Head of FMCG at Crimson and Co.
Nick said the focus must be to have clear sight across their entire supply chains.
‘Progress is being made, my argument is there is a way to go and if the pace does not step up greater regulations will be needed, not just at national level but around the EU.
‘Retailers must take more responsibility around traceability and transparency issues or regulation will be needed to assess food suppliers.
‘They must gain the trust and confidence of consumers, if retailers don’t act they will lose their competitive edge and consumers will go elsewhere.’
Nick cited the pharmaceutical industry as a good example to follow.
A directive was passed in 2012 (Falsified Medicines Directive) which meant it became a legal requirement for all manufacturers to apply European auditing standards to their manufacturers and the ingredients they use.
‘The consumer good industry is more relaxed as retailers can buy what they want as there are not many regulations in place to assess and audit suppliers,’ said Nick.
‘There needs to be a shift in attitude from buying what is the best deal to ensuring supplier relationships so they know their suppliers and the supply chain of ingredients.
‘Food firms source ingredients globally so there is a certain complexity in the process, different retailers have a large range of different products, like apples from France and prawns for Thailand. They have many different product lines with different product characteristics.’
Nick said that suppliers must show that they meet the standards and document how so it can be checked and any non-compliance can be demonstarted and corrected quickly.
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