The retailer has also launched a horticulture grower group, extending its farming groups to growers supplying its British flowers and plants range. This will include 11 producers across the UK, as part of the Group’s strategy to create long-term relationships with suppliers.
By signing the pledge, retailers commit to a fair treatment of all suppliers in accordance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, offering greater price certainty to growers and providing a wider choice of seasonal British plants and flowers for shoppers to buy. They also agree to pay all suppliers on time, in full and always consult with them in advance of any changes to payment terms and conditions.
The pledge aims to address the lack of flowers from British farms, which account for only 10% of the flowers on offer to the public in supermarkets.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “We are delighted the Co-op has signed the pledge, which supports and protects British growers and recognises the efforts they make to produce high-quality produce.
“British growers produce iconic plants and flowers such as daffodils and chrysanthemums, and over the past 20 years the ornamentals sector has doubled in farm gate value from £650m to around £1.3bn. The sector is a crucial part of the UK’s horticultural industry, employing around 300,000 people across production, retail and landscaping.
“The Co-op has committed to working closely with suppliers to promote fairness and build long-term relationships. We urge other retailers to show their support by signing the NFU’s Plant and Flowers Pledge.”
Caroline Mason, head of agriculture at the Group, said: “We’re delighted to be championing the NFU Plants and Flowers pledge as a proud supporter of British farmers and growers. Our customers and members love home-grown flowers and we’ll continue to offer British flower varieties when in season, all year round.”
The NFU launched the pledge in 2018 during British Flowers Week, which this year falls on 10-16 June.
The Group has witnessed a boom in flower sales, with varieties such as daffodils and tulips up 16.4% on last year. As part of its efforts to support British growers, it is launching an Irresistible bouquet as part of its premium own-label range, using seasonal crops.