by Tim Mudge


Jack Ward, chief executive of British Growers Association, spoke at the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum today (17th March) and called for better relationships between retailers and producers of UK produce.

The key issues raised were that suppliers working with retailers wanted a stronger sense of a joint approach, more collaboration, more understanding of respective position and a better sense of working together to serve the interests of the customer.

Mr Ward said: “UK producers are some of the best in the world and are trusted by UK consumers. In particular, new product development, new varieties, new techniques for producing crops like cherries and adopting the new LEAF marque, have helped put UK producers at the forefront of fresh produce production. This makes a great supply base responsible for helping to deliver 60% of the UK’s fresh produce.”

However, there is an issue of confidence amongst UK producers who feel that the supply chain needs to change in order for confidence to be restored. Greater trust between supplier and retailer would both sides to deliver a better retail experience.

Mr Ward, continued: “Growers want to feel on the same side as the retailer as they believe that, as a team, they can deliver the optimum customer proposition.

“We have a great industry, with some great natural advantages and great people equipped with some great technology but we need to work towards more collaboration to take advantage of these opportunities.

“Everyone I talk to is aware of the challenges facing the UK retail sector. Changing shopping habits, new entrants to the market and greater emphasis on quality and value. There is a strong sense that if the supply chain is going to succeed there needs to be a much stronger partnership from retailers to producers.”

Mr Ward outlined his hopes for the relationship between the UK producers and retailers: “The real goal is winning customers and a team working together is more likely to succeed than one working against itself.”

Notes to editors
Jack Ward Chief Executive
Jack has a wealth of experience in the Horticultural and Agricultural industries. Having worked for the NFU as Regional Director in the East Midlands and CEO of City & Guilds NPTC, Jack’s primary objective is for British Growers to be recognised as a major force in the representation and promotion of a world class produce industry as well as providing high quality and commercially relevant services to our member organisations.

British Growers Association
Founded in 1969, the British Growers Association represents & promotes UK growers of horticultural crops, in particular vegetables and salads.

The Association provides representation, leadership, coordination, expertise and support services for British growers, their marketing organisations and specialised crop associations. It provides expertise and knowledge on relevant policy, corporate governance, finance and banking, accounting, administration, IT resources, pooling/equalisation, payroll, grants, business structure, collaboration and research and development.

The organisation maintains key relationships with Government departments and works alongside complementary industry representative and research bodies.

For further information contact:
Rachel Ferguson or Michael Bennett
Pelican Communications
01457 820807