Supermarkets are failing British consumers

The Tenant Farmers Association has accused the UK’s biggest supermarkets of operating against the long-term interests of British consumers.

Speaking before today’s emergency farming summit in London, TFA National Chairman, Stephen Wyrill said “Some of the UK’s major retailers are engaged in driving prices paid to farmers to such low levels that their ability to survive is in severe jeopardy. Fundamentally, this is against what we hear consumers want which is locally produced, high-quality food made to high animal welfare and environmental standards. Paying farmers below the cost of production for their produce today will mean that they will not be there tomorrow to deliver these legitimate consumer demands. Retailers need to change their attitudes and fast.”

“Consumers are fast becoming aware that retailers are not operating in their long-term best interests. Retailers who use practices such as reducing the retail price of milk to increase footfall in order to sell lamb at retail prices which have not moved for over a year even though farmers are being paid between a half and two thirds of what they were being paid a year ago, shows that some retailers are simply interested in short-term profit rather than long-term sustainability of the supply chain,” said Mr Wyrill.

“We are asking retailers to take three simple steps now. Firstly, to declare a commitment to sourcing product endorsed by the “Red Tractor” assurance standard which determines that the food is either produced domestically or to the same domestic standards. Secondly, to ensure that within the current retail price a fairer margin is received by the farmer who seems always to get a raw deal particularly when global commodity prices move downwards. Retailers and processors seem able to protect their margins whilst passing the pain to the primary producer. Thirdly, we need retailers to commit to a discussion with the farming industry about ensuring a better functioning supply chain into the long term for consumer benefit,” said Mr Wyrill.

“There has been much focus on protests by the farming community and some of the heavy-handed responses to those by individual retailers. Farmers who are losing their ability to make a living for themselves and their families are not prepared to go quietly and those retailers who are unwilling to ensure a fair return to the farming community must not be surprised if they become the target for farmer protests”, said Mr Wyrill.

“Farmers are not asking much just fair play, fair prices and fair trade. If retailers truly valued their customer base they would change their practices today,” said Mr Wyrill.

Get Our E-Newsletter - breaking news to your in-box twice a week
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

About The Author