Lidl makes ethical fruit and veg pledge to support British suppliers

German discount retailer Lidl has today (21 June) announced a commitment to the National Farmers' Union (NFU) Fruit and Vegetable Pledge, underlining the importance of maintaining long-term, sustainable relationships with its British farmers and suppliers.

The pledge includes a commitment to pay all suppliers on time and in full, providing more price certainty and fairer terms in accordance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. Lidl has also vowed to strive for an elimination of waste in addition to ensuring customers have faith in every step of its sourcing policy.

Lidl UK commercial director Ryan McDonnell said: “We are very proud to have developed and maintained strong, long-standing relationships with all our suppliers, and our commitment to the NFU pledge cements this further.

“We’re also very keen to ensure that our sourcing process supports the growth and development of UK growers, which is vital in encouraging more and more people, particularly our shoppers, to regularly eat more fruit and veg.”

Long-term thinking

The NFU code will see Lidl attempt to step beyond minimal supply chain requirements, ensuring customers have faith in every step of its sourcing policy. The supermarket has pledged to communicate directly with suppliers to gain a better understanding of production challenges and consumers’ needs.

Ali Capper, NFU horticulture and potatoes board chair said: “We are delighted that Lidl has publicly committed to our pledge, highlighting its commitment to long-term supply relationships, equitable distribution of reward along the supply chain, and fair and respectful trading relationships.

“Our goal is to generate integrity, honesty and openness across the market and that can only come from the key asks within our pledge – which includes price certainty, transparent working and strong, long-term relationships that are fair for everyone involved. Lidl, with its already long history of working closely with its suppliers, is an ideal candidate to make the pledge.”

Supply chain security

The issue of supermarket supply chain security in the UK has been thrown into the spotlight recently, while a number of initiatives have been launched to better understand issues of food waste in every phase of the supply chain.

Lidl has announced it will only sell bananas that are sourced from farms that are either Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade-certified, with Aldi UK becoming the latest retailer to sign up to the pledge last month.

Meanwhile, Asda recently began offering a ‘wonky vegetable’ box, containing enough ugly potatoes and knobbly carrots to feed a family of four for an entire week for just £3.50.

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George Ogleby

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