One pig farmer said: “This is nothing short of a scandal, especially at a time when families are under enormous financial pressure. These supermarkets are racking up prices and making a lot of money, because they are paying less to farmers.”
Bpex head of marketing Chris Lamb said: “In a recession, surely it is important for the whole of the supply chain to be able to make a reasonable profit and ensure a sustainable future for all — not just one part of the chain. Pork and pork products are great value for consumers as long as prices and margins are kept competitive.”
The situation was compared to the beef sector. While there have been recent price increases for consumers, prices paid to producers have also increased, as cattle prices have firmed in recent months.
A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium agreed that pig farmers were in a “less favourable” position to other livestock farmers, but added: “Farmers should move away from this predictable ‘blame the supermarket’ reaction that you hear time and again. Pig farming is a cyclical business and Defra figures show that, three years ago, pig farmers were doing very well, with average profits in six figures.
We didn’t hear them thanking the supermarkets then.”