NFU Scotland has welcomed the announcement that the Office
of Fair Trading
(OFT) has referred the grocery market to the Competition Commission
NFUS, together with the other UK farm unions and groups outwith
the agricultural industry, has been calling for such an investigation
in meetings with Scottish Ministers and the OFT. NFUS submitted
evidence to the OFT which catalogued the misuse of power within
the food supply chain.
NFUS President John Kinnaird said:
“Today’s announcement is great news and I’m
encouraged that the OFT have listened to what we had to say.
“The misuse of supermarket power, if left unchecked, will
seriously damage the UK food industry, with consumers set to pay
the ultimate price. That stark message which we sent to the Office
of Fair Trading (OFT) has now done the trick.
“I believe the remit of the inquiry will allow our huge
concerns to be aired and, crucially, tackled with meaningful action.
The investigation must recognise the fear amongst suppliers of
reprisals and must therefore allow evidence to be submitted completely
confidentially. This is the only way in which a clear picture will
“Farmers desperately need a trustworthy and transparent
relationship with supermarkets but, at the moment, farmgate margins
are being squeezed at the same time as supermarket profits are
increasing. Consumers will ultimately pay the price for this unsustainable
squeeze on farm incomes, as it jeopardises the production of local,
healthy, fresh food; the very produce consumers increasingly demand.
“The relationship between supermarkets and suppliers can
work extremely well. Trust and transparency should be the norm,
but the misuse of power, where it occurs, only serves to perpetuate
a climate of fear in the food industry.
“This cannot be allowed to continue. For the sake of farmers,
the food industry and, ultimately consumers, the growth in supermarket
power and its consequences must be addressed and I look forward
to being involved in the process of ensuring that all within the
food supply chain get a fair deal.”
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