Following news that one of Scotland largest poultry producers is cutting
output, NFU Scotland has made calls for fairer prices within the poultrymeat
and egg sectors.
NFU Scotland understands that Grampian Country Foods are being forced to
cut their capacity, due to poor trading conditions, strong competition supplying
the retail and manufacturing sector and rising costs. In addition, they face
constant pressure from supermarkets and cheap imports.
It has recently been announced that a group of thirteen business leaders,
including Tesco executives, plan to meet with Tony Blair in what appears
to be an attempt to promote their green credentials whilst at the same time
urging him to take tougher action on climate change. Ironically, one simple
way in which the large food retailers could do their bit to combat climate
change is to cease importing unnecessarily from abroad, clocking up excess ‘food
miles’, when quality produce is grown on their doorsteps.
In addition, foreign imports frequently fail to meet the same welfare and
environmental standards that producers in the UK are obliged to meet and
yet they are still allowed into the UK and to undercut home-grown produce.
Jim McLaren, NFU Scotland Vice-President, said:
“Like all within the food supply chain, poultrymeat and egg producers
have faced increased input costs over recent months and years and yet the
supermarkets simply dictate the price they will be paying, allowing for no
“Egg consumption, in particular, has increased recently and so laws
of economics ought to dictate that prices rise. This has not been the case
because the large retailers simply refuse to pay. They seem quite happy to
make a negative impact on the climate and to threaten the future of UK producers,
by buying cheap imports instead. They also seem more than happy to sell these
imports to their customers who are buying, often unwittingly, produce from
overseas which doesn’t meet the welfare and environmental standards
met by UK producers.
“It is time that poultrymeat and egg producers are paid a fair price
for what they produce and that consumers are no longer sold cheap, and often
inferior, foreign imports at the expense of UK producers.”
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