Christopher Mack, executive chairman of Fresca, has said that the food industry should try to use and reinforce the grocery code of practice.

Speaking at the English Farming and Food Partnership's (EFFP) sixth annual conference yesterday (3 November), Mack added that the appointment of a grocery ombudsman was "highly unlikely" to improve relations between suppliers and retailers.

He told attendees: "In an environment where there are very few customers and a very fragmented supplier base, I suspect there will always be very difficult relationships. Clearly there are issues surrounding the relationships between suppliers and retailers."

The UK's Competition Commission in August published its final order to establish a code of practice governing the relationship between the country's grocery retailers and their suppliers.

Following last year's investigation into competition in the market, the Commission said that a strengthened code of practice was needed to provide a "clearer framework" for contractual agreements between retailers and suppliers.

The Commission has also asked the UK government to set up an ombudsman to resolve disputes between suppliers and retailers.

Mack added: "To be honest, I believe that the inescapable fact is that the code of practice has actually been useful in terms of what is acceptable practice and what is not."