Retailers have questioned the need for the Groceries Code Adjudicator on the day former Co-operative Food farming boss Christine Tacon begins in the role.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King today questioned the need for a supermarket ombudsman as watchdogs usually protect consumers.

Tacon was appointed to oversee the Groceries Supply Code of Practice to prevent pressure on suppliers and producers from retailers and govern disputes.

The BRC also criticised the adjudicator and the code of practice.

BRC director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie said: “Although the adjudicator begins officially today, the statutory code she will be responsible for administering has been running without problems for over three years.

“The adjudicator has an important role and we are looking for her to adopt the approach to better regulation that any business, retailer, manufacturer or farmer would expect. That is to be targeted, act only on clear evidence and be fair to all parties.”

He added: “A key part of that role will be making it clear what she can do which is only investigate issues between a direct supplier to a supermarket and only where there has been a breach of the code itself. It’s important to clear this up to avoid unnecessary confusion amongst suppliers.”