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Why Our Food Is A Political Hot Potato

by 5m Editor
1 November 2007, at 10:25am

UK - Yesterday's interim report by the Competition Commission regarding the power, potential to attract customers and the ability to exercise market forces on the part of the major supermarkets in the UK threw up no real surprises.

The perceptions of large farmer suppliers right down the chain to the small businesses, which might contract all, or most of their annual output, remain unchanged. They still believe that their worth and dedication are taken for granted. Some farmers might say that they are being shafted.

The Competition Commission analysis is woefully short on detail. However, the UK government's Office for National Statistics is a proverbial source of hard information.

The latest update as of the end of August and taking 1987 as the base point with an index score of 100 reveals that the total purchase cost of food consumed at home has declined to 78.3, and that is taking full account of inflation.

The best Scottish cattle when they head for an abattoir are worth close on 230p per kilo on the hook.

That sounds highly positive, but the official statistics indicate that, in real terms, that joint or steak of the very best Aberdeen-Angus is slightly more than 30 per cent cheaper than it was in real terms 30 years ago. In 1997 an ex-farm price of 250p per kilo was close to the norm. Prices might just rise to that level by the end of this year or in early 2008, but the intervening three decades have seen huge costs increases that seem unlikely to be recouped. The cynical farmer, meanwhile, has been watching supermarket profits grow exponentially while shareholders in these conglomerates can take some comfort from future pension benefits.

Source: Scotsman

Further Reading

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5m Editor