November 8, 2021 –

The United Kingdom’s Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) provides an example of how a grocery code could work in Canada. With minimal costs and a lean administration, the GCA has provided an uncomplicated solution to complex issues within the United Kingdom’s grocery supply chain.

Retailers and suppliers are happy with the balanced, competitive and collaborative environment that the UK’s Grocery Code has created. A report by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (United Kingdom) concluded:

Large retailers, most suppliers and other parties in the grocery supply chain reported that the [Grocery Code] has created a more level playing field and it had not limited the ability of the UK’s groceries retailers to compete and provide a good consumer offer.

The UK Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) has reported that, since 2015, there has been a steady decline in supplier complaints related to unfair business practices from large grocery retailers, such as: delay in payments, claims against suppliers for historic invoicing errors and omissions, fees related to forecasting and promotions, delivery issues, and consumer complaints.

The United Kingdom’s GCA demonstrates that the introduction of a Canadian Grocery Code of Conduct does not have to be complicated. In fact, it could be a small investment with significant benefits.


Quick Facts

The UK Groceries Supply Code of Practice 

  • Legislated code, introduced in 2009
  • Applies to the largest retailers (annual turnover of more than £1 billion)
  • Oversight provided by the Groceries Code Adjudicator

Groceries Code Adjudicator

  • Established in 2013
  • Power to investigate issues, arbitrate disputes, and impose sanctions and other remedies for breaches of the Code
  • Annual budget is £2 million, wholly funded by a levy on large retailers
  • Retailers and suppliers report that it has created a greater culture of collaboration and transparency rather than limited the ability to compete or offer more value to consumers