NFU leader warns retailers over pricing

Peter Kendall, the National Farmers Union (NFU) president, has urged the supermarkets to take greater responsibility for their actions - as he warned that farmers and producers are paying the cost to keep prices artificially low.

He delivered the warning at the opening of the South-East Agri Expo in Kent yesterday.

Kendall said: “The market is failing and farmers and growers are paying the price. While publicly listed companies pull rabbits out of hats – keeping prices low for consumers but still posting good returns for investors, behind the scenes their supply base is being starved.

“It’s a supply chain devoid of innovation and investment and a poorer place for consumers – exactly what the Competition Commission warned us about in its final report into the grocery market nearly two years ago.”

The NFU warning comes as the industry prepares for tomorrow’s rally about pig prices in Westminster. The industry says it is losing in the region of £21 per pig - while retailers promote pork at a discount and have upped their use of foreign imports.

However, his plea also follows a statement from the Swiss investment bank UBS that UK retailers were charging “excessive” prices compared with the rest of Europe.

The UBS  report concluded that UK food prices are rising more rapidly than in most other developed countries and do not reflect the level of cost inflation experienced by retailers.