What is GSCOP?

The Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) is legislation which came into force in February 2010 and was intended to protect food and drink suppliers to major supermarkets from being treated unfairly.

GSCOP regulates the behaviour of the top ten grocery retailers, Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Marks & Spencer, the Co-Op, Waitrose, Iceland and their subsidiaries (a collective known as the ‘Designated Retailers’).


How does GSCOP impact suppliers and retailers?

GSCOP applies to every supply agreement a supplier enters with one of the Designated Retailers, and regulates:

  • Variation to the supply agreement;
  • Changes to the Designated Retailers supply chain;
  • Delay payments for goods;
  • Contribution to marketing costs, buyer visits, artwork, store refurbishments/openings and staff hospitality;
  • Payments for shrinkage/wastage;
  • Listing/distribution fees;
  • Forecasting errors and when compensation is payable by the Designated Retailers;
  • Designated Retailers tying suppliers to third party goods;
  • Promotions;
  • Payments for better positioning of goods;
  • Customer complaint charges;
  • De-listing periods;
  • Dispute resolution.


Where can I get GSCOP training?

The top ten supermarkets are legally required to train their buyers on GSCOP annually.  However, around 57% of suppliers have received no GSCOP training.  If you are in the 57%, then 43% of your competitors have an advantage over you.

GSCOP implies restrictions on the major supermarkets’ behaviour which form part of a supplier contract with the supermarket. Not knowing GSCOP means you do not know your legal rights. Not knowing your legal rights means you are at a commercial disadvantage.

For details on our next GSCOP training session, click here.


GSCOP Expert

Mark Jones, Head of Food and Drink

Mark is commercial disputes solicitor who specialises in food and drink law. Gaining in-house experience at Morrisons and Iceland, Mark has advised on GSCOP disputes and trained major suppliers and supermarkets on GSCOP for the last seven years.

He frequently advises on GSCOP de-listing disputes and recently settled a £30m GSCOP claim favourably for his supplier client. Mark also assists clients responding to Competition and Markets Authority enquires made in relation to the grocery sector and how it operates.