The Co-op has joined Aldi and Lidl in pledging to support best practice in fresh produce sector by signing up to the National Farmers Union’s Fruit and Vegetable Pledge.
The society made the announcement at its inaugural Co-op farming conference, held in yesterday in Manchester.
Designed to cultivate long-lasting relationships between retailers and growers, the pledge requires retailers to adhere to a number of requirements including the fair treatment of suppliers, advance planning on promotions, investment in horticultural research and a commitment to increasing the amount of British fresh produce available for customers.
The Co-op said its allegiance to the pledge follows the development of its “ground-breaking” produce sourcing model that, earlier this year, saw it become one of the first retailers to introduce three-year contracts with many of its fresh-produce suppliers.
Michael Fletcher, the Co-op’s commercial director, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to announce our support for the NFU’s Fruit and Veg Pledge at the Co-op’s very first farming conference in the presence of over 300 of our farming group members, suppliers, industry and Co-op colleagues.
“We know our customers care about the provenance of their food and are keen to champion British products wherever they can. By signing up to this charter, we’re giving them further assurance on the transparency of our supply chains and making it easier than ever for them to support British farmers and growers.”
Earlier this week, the Co-op announced that it was extending its commitment to back UK meat farmers by switching all of its fresh bacon and lamb to 100% British.