NFU wants retailers to ‘value British food more’

The NFU has urged supermarkets not to devalue British food by entering price wars which could undermine farmers.

The statement comes in the wake of Tesco lowering the price of four pints of milk to £1. The price drop was then copied by Nisa, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and The Co-operative. The NFU has warned that this must not be the start of a trend which leads to longer-term impacts on British farmers across all food sectors.

A number of major retailers, including Tesco and Asda, have announced plans for across-the-board price cuts, which could include meat, with Morrisons expected to start further round of price slashing this week after a disappointing Christmas. It is reported that the chain will announce a sharp fall in annual profits on Thursday, and outline plans to sell property and slash prices in an attempt to win customers back from budget retailers Lidl and Aldi.

NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “We recognise that it is an incredibly competitive retail environment and that many retailers, including discounters, had already lowered the cost of staple items, such as milk, before this week’s announcement by Tesco. What’s important is that these price wars do not undermine the value of the products which farmers and growers work tirelessly to produce and meet world class standards.

“While Tesco has been quick to point out that this latest price promotion will not impact on farm-gate prices, we are never-the-less concerned about the impact of a price war having an undermining effect on farm gate prices and so we will be monitoring all retailers, to ensure that these price promotions do not get passed back to the farmer.”

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