Time to pull together

Am I alone in being concerned about the apparent level of glee with which the

wider media is reporting the so-called

'credit crunch'?

Turn on the television, open the paper or even look at the internet and all we see are stories about falling house prices, struggling banks and the economic slowdown.

You could be forgiven for thinking that those controlling the media seem determined to talk us into a recession with their incessant doom and gloom.

Of course, the problem is that we are facing economic difficulties. The price of fuel and energy has soared and consumers are reacting, partly to that, and partly to the doommongers on the telly, by carefully watching what they spend.

Unfortunately, at the same time, the meat sector has seen sky-rocketing prices for its products, driven by the escalating feed and energy costs, and consumers are starting to get twitchy about what they buy.

Most of the big retailers are starting to see changes in consumer buying patterns, with Sainsbury's reporting a significant drop in

beef volumes.

The difficulty for the retailer planners, going forward, is whether or not this is down to the economic downturn, or the fact that the summer has been rubbish. The more optimistic in the sector are pointing to the latter and expecting an upturn in the autumn.

Hopefully, this will be the case, but if the predictions being made by the doomsayers in the media are to be believed, we're likely to be facing a rockier road going forward. In which case, I think it's vital that we follow the calls from the National Farmers Union for everyone in the supply chain to pull together, match up supply with demand, and ensure we all weather the potential coming storm.

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