Industry's dismay at BRC supermarket comments

Pig farmers have expressed their dismay at recent comments made by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in which it dismissed the severe economic problems facing the industry and claimed it was supermarkets who were absorbing costs to help beat food inflation. BRC spokesperson Richard Dodd has been widely quoted in the media claiming: "Some prices are going up, but it is important to remember that supermarkets are absorbing a lot of increases." Meanwhile, former BRC director general Kevin Hawkins recently added fuel to the fire when commenting on food inflation. He wrote: "As for farmers, with a few exceptions, they are doing quite nicely thank you." "These comments really are a slap in the face for pig farmers," said Yorkshire pig farmer Richard Longthorp. "Meat & Livestock Commission figures show that the price of pork in supermarkets has risen by an average of 57.89p/kg since last July. At farm level, it rose by the princely sum of 7.49p/kg. At the same time, production costs for farmers have risen by 35p/kg. So it is the pig farmers who are absorbing costs and making a loss, not the supermarkets." "Is the BRC really dismissing the entire pig industry as 'a few exceptions?'" asked one Norfolk pig farmer. "And who are these farmers who are doing quite nicely? Our feed costs have gone up massively and most pig farmers are making a loss on every pig they sell." Wiltshire pig farmer Cameron Naughton added: "It is amazing that the head of the BRC thinks there is not a problem. We are currently losing over £2,000 per week. "We can carry on in the short term, but will have to abandon pig farming if the price does not improve soon. Consumers are clearly aware of the problems and are supportive. Why can't retailers be too?"