The UK Government has announced that Christine Tacon, ex-head of the Co-operative Group’s farming business, will be its first Groceries Code Adjudicator.

In her new role, Tacon will have the power to launch investigations into suspected breaches of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which governs relations between the UK’s ten largest grocers and their direct suppliers.

She will also have the power to fine retailers for misconduct, if legislation currently moving through the UK Parliament is passed as planned. Ministers expected a bill on the adjudicator role to become law this spring, and Tacon will perform her duties in ‘shadow’ form until then.

The new role has proved controversial in the food industry, and has been met with outright resistance by major retailers.

Tacon said today (21 January): “Coming from a commercial background, I am sure that if we can increase trust between retailers and their direct suppliers, it will lead to greater efficiency and can only have a beneficial impact on the rest of the supply chain.”

Consumer and competition minister Jo Swinson said: “This is an incredibly important position in the retail groceries sector making sure that large supermarkets treat their suppliers fairly and lawfully. Ms Tacon has a wide range of experience in the food, retail and farming industry and her appointment is a real milestone.”