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Does your
supermarket food
contain human

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Something is desperately wrong when the food we buy is produced by people who are forced to live in poverty, facing hunger themselves or even working for nothing. And we know that the burden of this injustice falls more heavily on women than on men.

Nobody should suffer to put food on supermarket shelves. However, too often women are made to labour for long hours in terrible working conditions, yet are paid less than men and denied the same basic human and legal rights.

Oxfam has found that, while some supermarkets are doing better than others; Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi all lack sufficient policies and measures to properly protect the human rights of the people they rely on to produce our food.

One key step to ending the suffering in the food we buy would be to have clearer policies and stronger measures in place to support the rights of women workers, but Oxfam's research has found these to be especially weak.

As a shopper, your voice can change lives. Write a personal message to your supermarket to ask them to help end the suffering of women behind the food they sell. Only by hearing from their customers will supermarkets start to take this issue seriously.

With fair wages, equality and decent working conditions women can work their way out of poverty now and beat it for good.

You can read our full report on the human suffering behind supermarket food here. If you want to know more about women food producers read our blog.

If you’d prefer to post a letter to your supermarket instead, take a look at our letter writing guide (PDF 1.28MB).

Use your consumer power

Use this form to help create a email to your supermarket

Step 1: Click on the supermarket you’d like to contact

Step 2: Tell which branch you shop in and what you like about it *

Step 3: Tell what you think of their score on ‘Women’? *

Take a look at our supermarket scorecard and tell your supermarket what you think of our findings. You could highlight a particular high risk product* that you buy regularly and express concern that people who produce it may be suffering.

*Orange Juice, Rice, Coffee, Green Beans, Cocoa, Bananas, Tea, Grapes, Tomatoes, Canned Tuna, Avocados, Shrimp are some examples of products that can be associated with human suffering.

Step 4: Ask what it’s doing to protect the women who produce the food it sells *

You could ask: What is it doing to understand where women are at risk in its supply chains, and what dangers they face? What is it doing to reduce the suffering of people producing its food? Where can you find publicly available information on its policies relating to women workers?

Step 5: Let us and your supermarket know who you are

We would like to contact you from time to time to keep you informed of Oxfam's projects and fundraising activities and appeals. We will not share your data and you can unsubscribe at any time. Your email address will be included in the message so the supermarket is able to reply to you. How we use your details.

We will keep your personal information secure and use it to contact you for up to two years from the day you give consent. If you would like to change how we contact you, visit www.oxfam.org.uk/preferences, phone 0300 200 1300 or write to Supporter Relations, Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Oxford, OX4 2JY.

May we contact you by email?

Thank you for taking action

Share with your friends and family to make an even bigger impact.

The supermarket scorecard

Oxfam has analysed the human rights policies of these leading UK supermarkets and scored them on four carefully selected categories. How does your supermarket score? For our full report please click here.

  Overall score TransparencyTransparency WorkersWorkers FarmersFarmers WomenWomen

We ask food retailers to be transparent about their policies and practices to encourage good practice in defending human rights in global supply chains.

The workers who produce our food are often trapped in poverty and unable to meet their basic living costs, due to low pay and power imbalances.

Large-scale agricultural investment in developing countries is driving monoculture expansion and displacing communities, undermining small-holder livelihoods and worsening local food security.

A large proportion of food producers are women; to meet labour rights standards special attention must be paid to their additional vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.


Tesco has the largest groceries market share in the UK. It also trades in nine countries in Europe and Asia, including Thailand where - trading as Tesco Lotus - it is the largest supermarket.


Sainsbury's is the second largest groceries retailer in the UK where it has 1,412 stores. It also owns a number of other businesses including banking and homeware which were not in the scope of this study.


Walmart is the largest supermarket chain in the USA. Walmart International has more than 6,200 retail units, operating under 63 banners in 27 countries outside the United States. One of these, Asda in the UK, has 650 stores.


Lidl has the largest network of discount grocery stores in Europe. The Schwarz Group (of which Lidl is the biggest part) represents 15% of the German market share and 4.4% of the market share in the UK, where it is also one of the fastest growing supermarkets in the UK.


Morrisons has seen a rapid increase in market share between 2015 and 2017, accounting for 10.7% of the groceries sector in the UK in November 2017and is the fourth largest supermarket in the UK.


The Aldi group is one of the biggest food discounters in Europe, comprising of Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud. Aldi South has more than 5700 branches in eleven countries, including the UK, where it is also one of the fastest growing supermarkets.





This scorecard is based on supermarkets' public policies, statements, and commitments.

Reported Human Rights Allegations in the supply chain of companies can be found here: www.business-humanrights.org/barcodes.

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