BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLES
Below are some example of where Tesco has worked
with suppliers to improve the businesses and meet customer demands.
We hope that these will help to illustrate the points that we
have made in our submission.
Harper Adams Master Classes
In partnership, Tesco and Harper Adams University
College began a new initiative this year with the aim of increasing
the transparency and understanding of the supply chain. The scheme
hopes to explain current retailer and major supplier practices
and developments, and raise an understanding of what customers
want and how an efficient modern supply chain should look and
operate. It also outlines the challenges and financial hurdles
facing the industry, with practical advice and solutions.
The Master Classes take form in a series of
one-day seminars, in which a number of prominent figures from
the industry give talks and lead seminars. The event features
presentations, discussions and practical experience that incorporates
the view from Tesco, the fresh produce sector and industry experts.
Growers and representatives of produce organisations from all
parts of the supply chain and those interested in its development
are invited to attend.
Tesco is sponsoring a five-year scheme at Newcastle
University into research on organic production. Agricultural land
and a special research centre have been set aside exclusively
for this project, which could enable British farmers to have the
knowledge and confidence to convert to organic agricultural production.
The research is being led by Professor Carlo Liefert, a world
leading expert in organic food production.
The farm has been split into two sections in
order to compare conventional and organic farming, monitoring
things such as crop yield, disease control and environmental effects.
The team at Newcastle will be finding new natural ways to combat
the weeds, pests and diseases which conventional growers have
solved by using chemicals. The project will also consider the
economics of the organic market and benefits of conversion.
It is hoped that this research will help equip
British farmers with the best information available, which eventually
will help reduce the volume of imported organic foods and build
a strong British organic production base.
Oxford Farm Animal Initiative
Tesco sponsors the Farm Animal Initiative (FAI)
at Oxford University, which was set up to look at animal welfare
standards and modern food production systems with the aim developing
sustainable farm systems that provide discernible benefits to
animal welfare, the environment and human health. FAI has the
tenancy of the Wytham Estate, which it runs on a commercial basis
with the support of the University's research teams, particularly
the Department of Zoology. The scheme aims to demonstrate the
success of these alternatives through practical and commercial
application and to share knowledge and training with farmers and
other members of the food production industries.
Best Beef Scheme
The Tesco Best Beef scheme was developed to
address the falling quality of beef animals and the apparent surplus
of calves coming through the dairy herd. The springboard for the
scheme was the co-operation between Express Dairies, who provide
milk for Tesco, and Southern Counties, a Tesco beef supplier.
The aim of the scheme is to provide a completely traceable, welfare-driven
beef chain from calf to consumer.
The dairy farmers who supply Express Dairies
are encouraged to use semen from bulls of known genetic merit
under the Meat and Livestock Commission's Best Beef Sire list.
This helps secure a better market for the calves and eliminates
the need for dairy farmers to use the calves as a by-product of
the dairy industry. Dairy farmers have the option of either finishing
the calves themselves or selling to Southern Counties Producer
Club members through Quality Calves. The benefit for the farmers
who rear and finish the calves lie both in the prospect of better
quality beef and the fact that the calves are likely to finish
up to 40 days quicker than animals produced outside the scheme.
The scheme is further enhanced by the role played
by Quality Calves Ltd, a farmer owned co-operative that markets
50,000 calves a year. The company arranges the grouping and batched
transportation of animals to ensure they are not only moved according
to the latest welfare guidance established by the industry and
monitored by the RSPCA, but that those movements are kept to a
minimum. As such, Quality Calves provides the vital link between
the dairy farmer and the finisher ensuring that the traceability
and welfare of calves during transportation is strictly adhered
Kitchen Garden Produce, Lincolnshire
A farming couple approached Tesco five years
ago when they saw we were importing shallots. They offered to
start growing shallots for local stores on a trial basis. The
trial was very successful and we decided to roll out supply to
all Tesco stores. This is an excellent example of British produce
beating off foreign competition. It is also an example of how
partnership can lead to a managed program of growth for the small
business and the product.
Organic parsnips, Norfolk
A farmer/packer in Norfolk working with Tesco
has just started its first season of organic parsnips. This is
part of a five-year investment programme on their part based on
a three-year conversion period and a new pack house. We had been
feeding back to farmer/packers what consumers want. This farmer
took up the challenge because he had the confidence that Tesco
had accurate information on customers' tastes and attitudes and
there would be a market for his parsnips.
Iceberg lettuces, UK
We have encouraged a producer of lettuces to
provide iceberg lettuces 52 weeks of the year. The producers did
this by investing in farms in Spain, so there is no off season
period for these British producers. The British season is their
starting point, they then move to manage and supply crops from
Spain to maintain quality icebergs all year round.
So although the icebergs are being imported,
it is good for UK farmers, growers and suppliers and helps them
stay profitable by avoiding off-season and by using their expertise
to grow to exactly what UK consumers want.