Last updated: February 2015


Supermarkets under the Spotlight



The UK supermarket sector still has much work to do to improve its overall ethical and environmental performance. Supermarkets need far more robust policies on a vast swathe of ethical issues from treating their suppliers fairly to their continued support of inhumane factory farming. 

Scandals have shocked the sector, and the horsemeat fiasco has left consumer confidence shaken. The big four retailers (Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda have experienced falling sales and market share. Commentators highlight changing consumer habits such as a switch to online grocery shopping combined with supermarkets' increasingly complex offerings and vast range of products as reasons behind the fall in sales.

However, the growing popularity of discounters such as Lidl and Aldi has also had a negative effect on sales for the big four. We turn our attention to these discounters and discover whether farmers and workers are paying the price for their cheap prices in-store. 

For a detailed comparison read our ethical shopping guide into supermarkets

Living Wage

Supermarkets fail to live up to a Living Wage

In the UK, supermarkets employ roughly million people, yet shockingly only one has made the commitment to become a Living Wage employer.  

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Ethical Shopping

Can you shop ethically at Lidl & Aldi?

Ethical Consumer went in search for ethical products at Aldi and Lidl to see if their low prices translated into low ethics. 

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Animal Welfare

Supermarket price wars and the horsemeat scandal

Compassion in World Farming examines the business case for higher animal welfare and outlines its ground-breaking work to get better food on your supermarket shelf.  

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Shop Locally

Growing an alternative 'supermarket' network

Since 2014, two new food networks have formed in the UK. Whole Food Action unites hundreds of well-established whole food shops, while Food Assembly is a network of assemblies that re-create traditional farmers markets. We spoke to both groups to discuss this growing food movement. 

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Product Guide

Which supermarket is the most ethical?

Our latest guide ranks the seven major supermarkets against the discounters Aldi, Lidl and Iceland. Plus, we reveal which supermarket comes top for online shopping. 

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